In the state of Nevada, an individual of any age who drives without a valid driver’s license may be charged with a misdemeanor. The penalty for this offense is up to six months of jail time and a traffic ticket with a fine up to $1,000.
An individual who has been sentenced for driving under the influence (DUI) may have their license revoked or suspended. A person who is driving without a valid license for this reason may face a further license suspension or revocation.
Exemptions From Driver’s License Requirements
According to Nevada Revised Statutes and the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), certain individuals are exempt from the requirement to drive with a valid license:
- Persons driving a motor vehicle in the service of the U.S. Armed Forces.
- Persons driving a road machine, farm tractor or implement of husbandry temporarily operated or moved on a highway.
- Nonresidents at least 16 years old who have in their immediate possession a valid license issued to them in their home state or country.
- Nonresidents at least 18 years old whose home state or country does not require a driver’s license. They may drive a motor vehicle not more than 90 days in any calendar year if the vehicle is registered in the nonresident's home state or country.
- Nonresidents on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces with a valid driver’s license issued by the person’s home state.
- Spouses or dependent children of nonresidents on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces with a valid license issued by their state of residence.
- Person on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces with a valid license issued in a foreign country by the U.S. Armed Forces. They may drive a motor vehicle for up to 45 days from the date of their return to the U.S.
Getting a Restricted License Under Nevada Law
Certain individuals may be eligible for a restricted license. A restricted license allows a person to drive:
- To and from work.
- On the job for work-related purposes.
- To and from a 24/7 sobriety and drug monitoring program.
- To and from school.
- For medical purposes.
- To and from the grocery store.
A person who has had their license suspended or revoked for DUI or failing to submit for evidentiary testing will not qualify for a restricted license. Such an individual has the option to reinstate their driving privileges if they install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) on any vehicle they operate.
There are exceptions to this rule for court orders, the 24/7 sobriety and drug monitoring program, child support suspensions and some juvenile suspensions.
Getting a Nevada a License Reinstated
A person who has had their license suspended or revoked can get their license reinstated through the Nevada DMV. First, they may need to take certain court actions. If a person’s license is suspended because of a court order related to a failure to appear, the person must appear in court and resolve an outstanding warrant with the court before contacting the DMV.
The court will issue a clearance letter. Many Nevada courts notify the DMV of the clearance letter electronically. After the court has given the DMV the clearance letter, the person must reinstate their license in person at a DMV office.
A person who is reinstating a license after a DUI must present a certificate of compliance at a DMV office and follow other reinstatement procedures, including written testing, getting SR-22 insurance and paying reinstatement fees.
Requirements for Teen Drivers
A teen charged with driving without a license may never have had a driver’s license initially. A person under the age of 18 who applies for an instruction permit, driver’s license or driver authorization card is required to give the DMV proof that they meet the minimum Nevada school attendance requirements.
The applicant must submit a certification of attendance form (DMV 301) to apply for an instruction permit. If a student’s permit or license is suspended because of truancy, they must submit a new DMV 301 when they reinstate their permit or license.
Nevada Driver Education Courses
In Nevada, most beginning drivers under age 18 are required to complete a driver education course. A teen can enroll starting at age 15. There is no exception for home-schooled students. The three options for driver education courses are:
- Attend a classroom course and complete 50 hours of behind-the-wheel experience.
- Complete an online course and 50 hours of behind-the-wheel experience.
- Complete 100 hours of driving experience only if a classroom course is not offered within a 30-mile radius of the individual’s residence, and they do not have access to the internet.
A professional school will issue a certificate of completion to be presented to the DMV when they apply for their full license. If a high school does not issue a certificate of completion, a report card or an official transcript is acceptable. The driver education course is not a requirement to get an instruction permit; it is a requirement for a driver’s license.
Obtaining a Learner's Permit
A young driver can get an instruction permit at age 15 and a half. They must present proof of their identity and a Nevada residential address unless they already have a Nevada ID card. Proof is typically a certified, U.S. birth certificate, a Social Security card and two documents to prove a residential address.
An instruction permit is valid for one year. If a permit has expired, the teen must apply for renewal in person at a DMV office, and the parent or guardian has to sign another financial responsibility statement. A motorcycle permit is valid for one year or until the rider turns 18.
The Nevada DMV can require testing, cancel a permit or deny the renewal if the applicant has been convicted of traffic violations or other offenses related to license suspension or revocation.
Applying for a Full Nevada Driver's License
An individual must be 16 years of age to apply for a full license. They must also have:
- Valid instruction permit for at least six months prior to applying.
- No at-fault crashes in the six months prior to applying.
- No moving violation convictions in the six months prior to applying.
- No alcohol or drug convictions of any kind in the six months prior to applying.
- Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles: Nevada Teen Driving
- Nevada Revised Statutes: Chapter 483, Driver's Licenses, Driving Schools, and Driving Instructors
- Nevada Revised Statutes: Section 193.150 Punishment of Misdemeanors
- Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles: License Reinstatement
- Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles: Restricted License Information
- Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles: Certification of Attendance
Jessica Zimmer is a journalist and attorney based in northern California. She has practiced in a wide variety of fields, including criminal defense, property law, immigration, employment law, and family law.