NEVADA – When it comes to traffic tickets for minor crimes, Nevada is about to undergo a significant adjustment. They will no longer be criminalized as of January 1, 2023, which means that people will no longer be arrested for failing to pay. All outstanding warrants for minor driving infractions will be lifted.
For years, campaigners have advocated for this shift. More than a quarter million people in Clark County alone are believed to have outstanding warrants for minor traffic offenses.
During the 2021 Legislative Session, Assembly Bill 116 was passed to decriminalize traffic and most speeding offenses. The idea is to keep people out of jail for small infractions.
“You will not be arrested for minor traffic offenses, such as a broken taillight or traveling with too many passengers in the bed of a truck,” said Clark County Commissioner William McCurdy II, who wants everyone to be aware of the imminent changes, particularly those with outstanding traffic warrants.
“In Clark County, around 270,000 people had outstanding traffic warrants,” McCurdy said. According to McCurdy, traffic warrants will be invalid as long as they are tied to now-decriminalized civil fines. To spread the news, McCurdy is organizing two Traffic Ticket Workshops with Judge Belinda T. Harris.
“A majority of the folks who were arrested or cited for a lot of these offenses are predominantly people of color, so it was logical for me to tell as many constituents as I could representing District D, which has a majority-minority population,” McCurdy explained.
McCurdy said that minor traffic citations had harmed many people in Nevada, with many going to jail merely because they couldn’t afford to pay a fine.
“If you are arrested, whether it is if it is 1 or 3 days, it might influence your quality of life. You may have lost your work, which means you are unable to pay your bills, which will have a knock-on effect on the household and family,” McCurdy asserted.
What happens if you don’t pay for the ticket?
“If you do not pay the fine and do not show in court, you will still be on the hook for it, but you will not be incarcerated for it,” McCurdy explained. Insurance and collections can still be contacted about tickets. Traffic citations are only decriminalized for minor infractions. A DUI or dangerous driving charge, for example, is not included.
The first Traffic Ticket Workshop will take place at the Pearson Community Center on Tuesday, December 13, from 6-7 p.m., and the second at the Walnut Recreation Center on Wednesday, December 14, from 6-7 p.m. There is no need to pre-register, and the workshops are free and open to the public.
Credits: Fox 5 Vegas