Yes, children can be charged as adults in Las Vegas, however, it depends on the case. The older the child and the more serious the juvenile offense, the more likely the case will transfer from juvenile court to criminal court in Nevada. Some cases are more serious than others, for example, juveniles at 16 or 17 will be certified as adults if they were accused of any of the following crimes:
- Gun crimes
- Attempted murder
For all other juvenile cases, the court has the discretion to transfer them to criminal court if they meet the following requirements:
- The child was at least 14 at the time of the alleged offense, and
- The offense would have been a felony had an adult committed it
There are many ways to combat delinquency charges, but the best strategies for fighting juvenile delinquency allegations in Nevada depend on the specific circumstances of the case. The child’s Las Vegas juvenile defense attorney will need to do a comprehensive and detailed investigation into the case for all available evidence. The prosecutor must be able to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the child is guilty of delinquency charges in Nevada. If the juvenile crime lawyer can successfully demonstrate that the prosecutor’s evidence is not reliable enough to support a delinquency adjudication, the juvenile court judge should dismiss the case. Common evidence in juvenile cases include:
- Surveillance video
- Text messages and voicemails
- Medical records
- And more
A juvenile that is arrested is often taken into a detention facility for juveniles. Law enforcement must attempt to immediately notify parents or a respective legal guardian that their child has been detained. The detention facility will notify a probation officer and must also attempt to notify parents or legal guardians that their child has been detained. A detention hearing will be held. The detention hearing is similar to adult courts, and the judge will engage in similar options to adults who get a detention hearing. The court may decide to detain the juvenile at the detention facility, release the juvenile, or release the child with certain conditions such as house arrest.
A juvenile who has been alleged to be delinquent or in need of supervision is entitled to legal counsel at all stages of a criminal proceeding. You will be appointed a public defender by the State. Parents or juveniles can also retain the services of private counsel.
The first step in the juvenile criminal process is that a petition is filed by the District Attorney’s Office alleging that a delinquent act has occurred or a child is in need of supervision. Once the petition has been filed a plea hearing is then set. At the plea hearing, the juvenile must answer the allegations in the petition, the answer can be verbal and some allegations can be admitted, some can be denied, some allegations may be dismissed through negotiations, or all allegations in the petition can be denied.
If allegations in the petition are denied then an adjudicatory hearing is held. This type of hearing is similar to a trial but as previously stated there is no jury. Witnesses are called, evidence can be admitted, witnesses can be confronted through cross-examination, and ultimately the judge will enter dispositional or sentencing orders.
Often times we are able to obtain a resolution and avoid a petition from ever being filed against the juvenile, this is known as an informal resolution. This is the optimal outcome.
Nevada has several juvenile detention facilities where those charged with a juvenile crime may be sent. Summit View Youth Center (SVYC), located in Las Vegas is Nevada’s single maximum-security juvenile jail and will be home to those who have been charged with severe juvenile crimes. The other juvenile facilities that house those charged with a juvenile crime include the following:
Yes, when a child turns 21 all of their juvenile criminal records are automatically sealed, with the exception of one serious charge. If a juvenile is convicted of a felony sex offense that involved force or threats of force, they will not be eligible to have the charge sealed when they turn 21. However, when the child turns 30, they may petition the court to seal the sex offense record.
Yes, juvenile criminal records can be sealed before the child turns 21, but only if three years have passed since the case was adjudicated. If a juvenile record is successfully sealed, the child can legally deny that the juvenile offense ever happened, even under oath. For more information about getting a juvenile record sealed before the age of 21, contact our Las Vegas juvenile crime attorney today for a free consultation.