Nevada’s Reckless Driving Laws and Penalties

Read about Nevada’s reckless driving laws and the consequences of a conviction.

In Nevada, a person can be convicted of “reckless driving” for:

  • driving “in willful or wanton disregard of the safety of persons or property”
  • driving in an “unauthorized speeding context” (street racing), or
  • failing to yield to or evading a police officer.

The term “willful” refers to conduct that is intentional or purposeful. And “wanton” generally means the person understood but disregarded the consequences of the conduct.

(Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 484B.653(1) (2017).)

Other Forms of Reckless Driving

Nevada’s reckless driving law also lists a number of traffic violations that constitute reckless driving if—while committing the violation—the motorist causes a collision with a pedestrian or person riding a bike. These violations include:

  • failing to drive with due care with respect to pedestrians and bicyclists
  • failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk
  • disobeying the directions of a school crossing guard
  • exceeding 15 miles per hour or making a U-turn in a school zone while school is in session, and
  • speeding.

(Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 484B.270 484B.280, 484B.283, 484B.350, 484B.363, 484B.600, 484B.653(2) (2017).)

Reckless Driving Penalties

In most situations, a Nevada reckless driving conviction is a misdemeanor. However, the consequences of a reckless driving violation depend on which type of offense the driver is convicted of.

Willful or Wanton Disregard Offenses

For a reckless driving offense based on a willful or wanton disregard for the safety persons or property, the possible penalties are:

  • First offense. For a first offense, the motorist is looking at up to six months in jail and/or $250 to $1,000 in fines.
  • Second offense. A second offense carries up to six months in jail and/or $1,000 to $1,500 in fines.
  • Third offense. A driver who’s convicted of a third offense faces up to six months in jail and/or $1,500 to $2,000 in fines.

A reckless driving conviction will also add eight points to the motorist’s driving record. Accumulating 12 points or more within a year leads to a six-month license suspension.

(Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 484B.653(3) (2017).)

All Other Reckless Driving Offenses

For all other reckless driving offenses, the possible penalties are:

  • First offense. For a first offense, the motorist is looking at up to six months in jail, $250 to $1,000 in fines, and 50 to 99 hours of community service.
  • Second offense. A second offense carries up to six months in jail, $1,000 to $1,500 in fines, and 100 to 199 hours of community service.
  • Third offense. A driver who’s convicted of a third offense faces up to six months in jail, $1,500 to $2,000 in fines, and 200 hours of community service.

All motorists convicted of reckless driving—except those convicted of a “willful or wanton disregard” violation—will have their license suspended for six months to two years. A judge can also order vehicle impoundment of 15 days for a first offender and 30 days for a motorist convicted of a second or subsequent violation.

(Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 484B.653(4), (5) (2017).)

Reckless Driving Violations Involving Injuries or Fatalities

A motorist who causes “serious bodily harm” or death to another person while committing a reckless driving offense can be convicted of a category B felony. A conviction carries one to six years in prison, $2,000 to $5,000 in fines, and a three-year license suspension.

(Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 483.460, 484B.653(4), (5) (2017).)

Reckless Driving and DUI Charges (“Wet Reckless”)

In some states, it’s possible for a driver who’s charged with driving under the influence (DUI) to “plea bargain” for a lesser charge. When a DUI is plea bargained down to a reckless driving charge, it’s sometimes called a “wet reckless.”

Nevada law restricts plea bargaining in DUI cases. So, in most DUI cases, it isn’t possible to plea bargain for a wet reckless or any other lesser charge.

(Read more about plea bargaining in Nevada DUI cases and the limitations.)

HOW MUCH TIME WOULD YOU ACTUALLY SPEND IN JAIL?

Generally speaking, sentencing law is complex and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. For example, a statute might list a “minimum” jail sentence that’s longer than the actual amount of time (if any) a defendant will have to spend behind bars. All kinds of factors can affect actual punishment, including the severity of the damage at issue, credits for good in-custody behavior, and jail-alternative work programs.

If you face criminal charges, consult an experienced criminal defense lawyer. An attorney with command of the rules in your jurisdiction will be able to explain the law as it applies to your situation.

Talk to an Attorney

The consequences of a reckless driving conviction in Nevada can be serious, especially if the offense involved injuries or deaths. If you’ve been arrested for or charged with reckless driving, get in contact with an experienced defense attorney. A qualified attorney can explain how the law applies to the facts of your case and help you decide on how best to handle your situation.

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