Traffic violations can lead to deadly accidents, making them criminal offenses with hefty penalties. However, Assembly Bill 116 recently decriminalized various violations usually sentenced as misdemeanors in Nevada.
After taking effect on January 1, 2023, the court will cite specific minor traffic offenses as infractions instead of misdemeanors under this policy, such as:
- Using a cellphone while driving
- Violations related to seat belt misuse
Meanwhile, more severe violations are still misdemeanors, including:
- Driving under the influence (DUI)
- Driving without a valid license
- Leaving a crash scene
- Failing to stop and provide aid
- Failing to stop for emergency vehicles
- Offenses involving flaggers
- Tampering traffic control signs or devices
- Other violations committed while intoxicated
Sanctions for these crimes might remain the same or change, depending on the court’s decision.
Penalties for infractions
AB 116 does not provide any significant changes in the law enforcement process. Authorities can still stop, detain and arrest violators based on existing laws. However, the court will finalize the citation, whether an infraction or a criminal offense.
Infractions usually require violators to respond within 90 days of receiving the notice. Then, they must pay a fine not exceeding $500, plus the associated administrative fees. The DMV will also receive a report about the infraction and add it to the driver’s record.
If they disagree, drivers can dispute infractions in court. Then, the court can reduce or add penalties, such as completing traffic courses and community service hours. The court can also enforce a license suspension for repeat offenders.
Despite changes implemented by AB 116, the citation can have unique procedures, depending on its circumstances. The court’s judgment still dictates the official process and decision.