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Can You Go To Jail For a Car Accident

Can You Go To Jail For a Car Accident? | Nevada DUI Law


Nevada state law can be confusing if you’re not familiar with the language used or how the system operates. When it comes to being charged and facing penalties, the circumstances of the crime will always be considered. So, if you’re wondering “can you go to jail for a car accident?”, the answer isn’t so black and white. 

There are many factors that need to be assessed before a sanction can be allocated for a driving accident. A DUI Las Vegas attorney can help you navigate this difficult situation and will aggressively fight to represent you. Learn more about whether or not you can go to jail for a car accident below. 

Can You Go To Jail For a Car Accident?

In short, it is possible for a person to be sent to jail for a car accident. The criminal liability of an “at-fault” driver will depend on the degree of blame and the repercussions of their actions. Nevada law declares that a driver who causes a fatality could be charged with a criminal felony or misdemeanor depending on the occurrences of the event. However, charges will vary case by case, even in cases where a motorist is killed. 

Likewise, state law discusses the penalties faced by those who are found guilty of a serious vehicle accident that does not result in a fatality. Depending on how severe the accident was and the circumstances of how the accident occurred, a driver may still face jail time even if the victim walks away unscathed. 

Let’s take a look at some of the specifics of reckless driving and driving under the influence.

Reckless Driving and Simple Negligence Accidents and Can You Go To Jail For a Car Accident

Reckless driving in the state of Nevada is defined as driving “in willful or wanton disregard of the safety of people or property” around them. Simple negligence on the other hand, are accidents that occur due to lack of attention and are not made with ill-will. Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) 484B.657 declares vehicular manslaughter caused by negligence a misdemeanor and requires an offender be punished as such. 

A person may be charged with the misdemeanor if they cause another person’s death due to simple negligence. These are usually mistakes made out of simple error, not malice intention. Simple negligence in driving cases can look like any of the following:

  • Failure to yield
  • Eating while driving
  • Slightly speeding 
  • Distracted driving (simply not paying attention)
  • Failure to use a turn signal
  • Failure to look and yield to oncoming traffic before changing lanes
  • Taking your eyes off the road for any amount of time 

Simple negligence cases typically result in lesser charges and fines since they are classified as a misdemeanor. However, in reckless driving cases, NRS 484B.653 criminalizes the offense and results in more serious penalties. Reckless driving in the state of Nevada may look like any of the following:

  • Running a red light
  • Speeding in excess
  • Weaving in and out of traffic carelessly
  • Driving on the sidewalk
  • Aggressive tailgating

A reckless driving charge is considered a misdemeanor, but may be increased to a Category B felony if the offense results in another person’s death. 

It’s also important to note that the degree of blame will significantly affect one’s charges. In cases that are out of the driver’s control, such as inclement weather or vehicle malfunctions, the accused will not face the same level of blame as a DUI or reckless driver case. Therefore, the charges and penalties will differ depending on the circumstances of the accident and whether or not you need a criminal defense lawyer or a personal injury lawyer.

Possible Penalties and Charges of Can You Go To Jail For a Car Accident

If convicted of vehicular manslaughter due to simple negligence, a person can face up to 6 months in jail and a $1,000 fine. The penalties may be doubled if the accident happened in a work zone and the death will also go onto a person’s driving history. This could possibly lead to a license suspension and more fines.

If convicted of vehicular manslaughter due to reckless driving, a defendant faces 1-6 years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines. Your penalties can also be doubled if you caused the death in a work zone.

Driving Under the Influence (DUI) Accidents 

Operating a motor vehicle under the influence of such substances is extremely prohibited by motorists of all types. In Nevada, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol will hence result in severe legal charges. A person is considered under the influence if they are impaired to the degree that they are driving recklessly. Also, if a driver displays a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.8% or more at the time of the accident, they will be charged with DUI. 

In cases where the DUI offender causes the death of another person, the charges and penalties are even more severe. 

Possible Penalties and Charges

DUI penalties in Nevada will vary depending on whether the incident was the first, second, or third offense. According to NRS 484C.400, a first DUI offense charge will result in mandatory 2-day hold in jail (or equivalent in community service hours) with a maximum hold of 180 days, a $400 minimum fine, and license revocation for at least 185 days.

A second DUI offense will result in a mandatory 10 days in jail or home confinement with a maximum hold of 180 days, a $750 fine, and license revocation for 1 year.

A third DUI offense will result in 1-6 years in prison, a $2,000 minimum fine, and license revocation for 3 years. 

In DUI cases that result in a fatality, NRS 484C.430 states that the driver will be charged with a Category B felony and will spend 2-20 years in prison (away from violent offenders), face fines ranging from $2,000-$5,000, be required to attend a Victim Impact Panel, and will have a breath interlock system installed in your vehicle at your expense for at least 1 year upon release.   

Meet With a Reputable Las Vegas DUI Attorney 

A Las Vegas attorney such as those at Spartacus Criminal Defense Lawyers will fight to make sure that your rights are protected. Losing isn’t an option. Having extensive experience with DUI law in Nevada, we’re more than prepared to help you find justice following your accident. A DUI is a serious legal matter and should be handled by a serious legal defense team. We will aggressively represent you to avoid penalties, fines, and damage to your driver history.

Connect with us today to learn more about your rights and see how we can help you avoid serious legal implications. 


For a FREE initial consultation, call (702) 660-1234.

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