Minor traffic tickets decriminalized, outstanding warrants cancelled in Nevada on Jan. 1
LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - A big change coming to Nevada when it comes to traffic tickets for minor offenses. Starting January 1, 2023, they will no longer be criminalized meaning people will no longer be taken to jail for not paying. All pending warrants on minor traffic violations will be canceled.
It is a change advocates have pushed for years. It’s estimated more than a quarter million people in Clark County alone have active warrants for minor traffic violations.
Assembly Bill 116 to decriminalize traffic and most speeding tickets was voted in during the 2021 Legislative Session. The goal: keep people out of jail for minor offenses.
“You will not be jailed for minor traffic infractions, like a broken taillight or riding with too many people in the bed of a truck,” stated Clark County Commissioner William McCurdy II, who wants everyone to know about the upcoming changes especially those with active traffic warrants.
“About 270,000 people had outstanding traffic warrants in Clark County,” McCurdy shared. McCurdy told FOX5 those traffic warrants will be unenforceable as long as it is related to what is now decriminalized civil penalties. McCurdy is hosting two Traffic Ticket Workshops with Judge Belinda T. Harris to get the word out.
“A majority of the people who were arrested or cited for a lot of these infractions, they are majority people of color, so it was natural for me representing District D which has a majority-minority population to inform as many constituents as I can,” McCurdy explained.
McCurdy argued simple traffic tickets have done serious harm to many in Nevada, with people going to jail simply because they couldn’t afford to pay a fine.
“If you are jailed whether it is for it is 1 or 3 days, it can impact your quality of life. You may have lost your job which means you cannot pay your bills, which means it will have a trickle-down effect within the household and within the family,” McCurdy asserted.
What happens now if you don’t pay for a ticket?
“If you don’t pay the fine and if you fail to appear in court, you will still have to be on the hook for it, but you won’t be jailed for it,” McCurdy shared. Tickets can still be reported to insurance and collections. The decriminalization of traffic tickets is only for minor violations. Something like a DUI or reckless driving charge isn’t included.
The first Traffic Ticket Workshop will be held at the Pearson Community Center on Tuesday, Dec. 13, 6-7 p.m., while the second will be held at the Walnut Recreation Center on Wednesday, Dec. 14, 6-7 p.m. Pre-registration is not required, and the workshops are free and open to the public.
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