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By: Law Offices of Mace J. Yampolsky

When is a Juvenile Charged as an Adult in a Las Vegas Criminal Case?

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If I’m Charged As a Juvenile, Am I Penalized To A Lesser Extent?

The juvenile court system in Nevada commonly has jurisdiction over most people under 18 who are accused and charged with committing a crime. However, the same juvenile courts may preside over cases if you are 21 but committed the crime before your 18th birthday.

However, being under 18 does never necessarily lessen your penalties if you commit a crime. Accordingly, if your child has been accused of breaking the law, it still requires your most serious attention.

The Las Vegas, and Nevada, Juvenile courts hold the scope of authority to impose tangible and life-changing consequences on a person under 18 or even younger.

Also, if the crime is a felony offense and severe enough, then even a teenager may find themselves subject to the jurisdiction of the adult courts and significantly harsher penalties.

Many factors are involved in the decision to charge a child as an adult, and each case is unique. However, any minor can be charged as an adult under the right circumstances: If your child is accused of having committed a serious felony, murder, rape, robbery, etc., and was 14 or older at the time of the severe felony.

If the charge is severe enough, the juvenile court judge can “certify” minors to be prosecuted and tried as adults.

Some examples of these crimes are:

  • Any child aged 13 to 15 accused of murder. or attempted murder may be certified.
    Minors under age 14 and older accused of felonies may be certified.
  • Children 16 or 17 years of age and accused of specific sexual assault charges or firearm offenses usually will be certified.
  • So, the Las Vegas judge and the severity of your child’s charge will likely decide whether they are prosecuted as adults. If they are charged as adults, their penalties and consequences are considerably more severe.

Suppose your child even has the possibility of being tried as an adult. In that case, you must consult with a professional, qualified, and aggressive Las Vegas criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. If your lawyer can “get ahead” of the charges, they can possibly mitigate them downward and significantly decrease their chances of being tried as an adult.

When Can My Child Be “Certified” As An Adult in Las Vegas?

Usually, it depends on the severity of the crime your child is charged with, but Las Vegas judges have some discretion in this matter. If your child is “certified,” it may allow them to be tried as an adult in the following circumstances:

  • Your child is charged with an offense that would be a felony if they were an adult and was 14 years of age or older.
  • A minor was charged with murder or attempted murder and was 13 years of age or older.
  • Any minor who is charged with sexual assault that involves the use or threatened use of force or violence against their victim and was 16 years of age or older.
  • A minor charged with an offense or attempted offense involving firearm use or threatened use is at least 16 years old.

In some cases, certification as an adult is mandatory, and your loved one will face harsh, life-changing penalties and jail time in an adult facility. Accordingly, consulting with an experienced and knowledgeable Las Vegas criminal defense lawyer must be involved quickly so that this process (if possible) may be avoided at all costs.

What Do I Need To Know About the Las Vegas Juvenile Court System

It’s always a horrible experience for you, as a parent, to find out your child has been accused of a crime and arrested.

Typically, if your child is under 19, they will go to juvenile court instead of adult criminal court. Juvenile courts usually don’t charge your child with a crime, but rather, they’re accused of acts of “juvenile delinquency.” As stated, however, they can be transferred to adult court, especially if they are an older “minor” child or their crimes are more serious.

For most, juvenile penalties are more lenient and more focused on treatment and rehabilitation. This is a significant difference between juvenile courts’ and adult criminal courts’ punitive penalties. Also, your child may not have a “record” that follows them, as juvenile cases are commonly “sealed” when your child turns 21.

Can a State Prosecutor Have My Child Charged As An Adult?

No, they cannot. Only the judge in your case can decide if your child faces adult charges in Nevada. However, the state prosecutor can only ask a judge to certify your child as an adult if the crime warrants it. Ultimately, only the court can rule to charge your child as an adult.

Generally, in the Las Vegas courts, the older your child is (and closer to 18), the more likely they may be certified by the judge to face the charges as an adult. Also, the more severe the crime and the accusation, the more likely the judge will have them certified.

The best way to protect your child from being certified as an adult is to enlist the help of a professional, thorough, and empathetic Las Vegas criminal defense law team as soon as possible. After analyzing all the aspects of the charges against your child, they will know precisely how to mount your child’s defense and help to ensure they are tried as a juvenile. If even the possibility of certification exists, your lawyer will do all they can to defend against it.

My Child May Be Charged As An Adult; What Should I Do?

The first thing to remember is that time is not on your side. If your child is charged with a crime, that is bad enough, but if they’re tried as adults, their entire future may be jeopardized.

As soon as possible, consult with a qualified, professional, and winning Las Vegas criminal defense lawyer. They will gather all the case details, and if there’s the slightest chance your child may be charged as an adult, your law team will work to stop it.

If your child is 18 or younger, they have their whole life ahead of them. Don’t let a criminal record follow them forever. Obtain the professional, aggressive, and winning legal help your child needs to secure their rights and future.