Child Passenger Restraint Systems: What You Need to Know About Nevada Laws

Safety restraint systems save lives, and the state of Nevada knows this. As such, Nevada has laws that require all motorists to wear seat belts, as well laws that require children to be secured appropriately using a child passenger restrain system. While these laws may be broken by motorists you see on the road, that doesn’t mean they are inconsequential – you can face serious repercussions for violations.

While not wearing a seat belt as an adult is a traffic offense (misdemeanor) that carries a nominal fine, with greater penalties if a driver has previous citations, not properly securing a child passenger using an appropriate restrain system is a more serious offense. In addition, ignoring a traffic ticket can result in enhanced penalties and a bench warrant, which is why consulting with experienced criminal defense attorneys like those at Joey Gilbert Law as soon as possible is critical to protecting your rights and future.

What Nevada Law Requires for Child Passengers

Nevada laws impose strict safety restraint rules for children who are under 6 years of age and 60 pounds or less. Per state law, child passengers must be secured using an appropriate restrain system which:

  • Is approved by the U.S. DOT (Department of Transportation);
  • Is appropriate for the weight and size of the child passenger; and
  • Is properly installed and attached securely to the motor vehicle per manufacturer instructions or a manner approved by NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration).

Appropriate child passenger restraint systems can include child safety seats, booster seats secured with a safety belt, and child-specific safety belts. While state law requires child passengers to be properly secured in passenger vehicles, it does not apply to public transportation, or in cases where medical professionals sign a doctor’s note regarding restraint systems that may be dangerous or impractical for a child.

Criminal Charges and Penalties

Failing to secure a child in an appropriate passenger restraint system can result in penalties that can be enhanced with prior convictions:

  • First Offense – A first-time offense for not securing a child passenger under the age of 6 or under 60 pounds is punishable by up to $500 in fines, or between 10 to 50 hours of community service.
  • Second Offense – Second-time offenders can faced fines between $500 to $1,000, or 50 to 100 hours of community service.
  • Third or Subsequent Offense – A third or subsequent child passenger restraint system offense can subject motorists to a suspension of their driver’s license between 30 to 180 days.

Defending against these charges is a case-by-case matter. Aside from waging defenses that a child did not meet the age or weight requirements for a mandatory restraint system, was in fact properly secured, or had a doctor’s note, there may also be options for avoiding or reducing potential penalties. This includes having defendants take and complete a court-approved education program on child safety seats within two months of sentencing. In some cases, Nevada judges may waive fines or community service, or reduce them, if these courses are completed properly and in a timely manner. Our firm can help you explore your available options when you reach out for help.

In the most severe circumstances, motorists can face additional charges and penalties associated with not properly securing a child passenger, especially if they transported a child in the back of a pick-up truck, were driving on a suspended license or driving under the influence (DUI), or otherwise committed acts to warrant a child endangerment charge. Depending on the facts and circumstances involved, child endangerment can subject individuals to penalties that range from fines to several years of imprisonment. If your case involves additional charges, prior convictions, or the potential for enhanced penalties, working with an experienced attorney is crucial.

If you or someone you love has recently been cited for failing to use a child passenger restraint system, or any other traffic offense or crime in Reno or the surrounding areas of Nevada, Joey Gilbert Law is available 24/7 to help you take the next steps. Protect your rights and future with a proven criminal defense team. Contact us for a free case review today.


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