If you have an outstanding traffic citation in Nevada, or a warrant for a minor traffic violation, that citation or warrant will be canceled as of January 1, 2023.
According to an article written by Kim Passoth on Fox5Vegas.com, Assembly Bill 116 was passed during the 2021 Legislative Session. It will decriminalize minor traffic offenses and most speeding tickets. However, this applies only to minor violations. Offenses such as Driving Under the Influence (DUI) and reckless driving will not be decriminalized.
So, what does “decriminalize” mean in this instance? Well, if you’ve ever received a traffic citation for speeding, a broken tail light, having too many people riding in the bed of your pickup truck, or not coming to a complete stop at a traffic light or stop sign, then you know you either had to pay the associated fine, or appear in court to defend yourself. If you failed to do either of those things, then a warrant would be issued for your arrest. You would end up going to jail for this minor offense. As of January 1, 2023, no one will be jailed for failing to appear in court or failing to pay the associated fines.
Yes, you’ll still be on the hook for that fine. Yes, the government can still report your violations to the insurance companies. And yes, they can use collection agencies to convince you to pay what you owe. Per Passoth’s article: “It’s estimated more than a quarter million people in Clark County alone have active warrants for minor traffic violations.” Advocates for the passage of Assembly Bill 116 say that many of the people jailed for minor traffic violation warrants have been people of color who have not had the funds to pay those fines. Once they are jailed for this minor offense, they lose their jobs, and it becomes a downward life spiral after that with no way to ever get out of this hole.
If you would like to learn more about this new law and the changes coming our way in the new year, there will be two Traffic Ticket Workshops held here in Southern Nevada. The first will take place Tuesday, December 13, from 6-7pm at the Pearson Community Center. The second will be held at the Walnut Recreation Center on Wednesday, December 14, from 6-7pm. These workshops are free and open to the public.
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Larry Martino is the long-time Afternoon Drive personality on 96.3 KKLZ. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of Larry Martino and not necessarily those of Beasley Media Group, LLC.