Traffic citations now civil infractions in Nevada

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Effective Sunday, legislation converting criminal misdemeanors for such things as traffic violations to civil infractions takes effect in Nevada.

The law was enacted through AB116 to de-criminalize traffic offenses and prohibit traffic officers from arresting violators unless there is another crime involved.

But that doesn’t mean offenders can get off scot-free. They will still have to pay the monetary fine included in existing law as imposed by the citation.

There are exceptions, primarily violations of traffic laws that contain other specific penalties such as a DUI.

Basically, the same fines that are in current criminal statutes remain in place, but traffic violations would no longer be criminal, but civil.

The new law also removes traffic citations and fines from a person’s criminal record and cancels outstanding bench warrants for traffic citations issued before Jan. 1 2023.

If a person fails to pay the amount imposed in the civil citation within 90 days or responds by challenging the citation, the law allows the city, county or other prosecutor to ask a court to order payment. If the person fails to respond to the citation, the court can then find the defendant guilty and impose a fine.

People stopped for a civil infraction can be detained and searched if the officer has cause to suspect they are guilty of criminal activity.

The new law doesn’t change the requirement that the person must also pay the administrative assessments accompanying the citation. Those assessments are typically far more than the monetary penalty for a traffic violation.

The law also sets a maximum $500 penalty for a civil infraction.


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