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From juvenile court to adult court

There’s an erroneous belief that if a juvenile commits a crime, the case is sent to juvenile court. If the crime charged is serious enough, the case can be assigned to adult court.

Certification to prosecute as an adult
Any person under the age of 18 who commits a crime in Nevada is first charged as a juvenile, but if the charge involves a serious felony, the prosecution can move to certify that the juvenile be prosecuted as an adult. This can occur if the juvenile was over the age of 13 at the time that the alleged crime was committed.

Mandatory certification
Any juvenile judge in the State of Nevada is required to certify a juvenile as an adult when:

  • The juvenile was 16 or 17 at the time of the crime alleged
  • The charge involved a sexual assault
  • The charge involved a firearm
  • The juvenile is charged with murder
  • The juvenile was over 14 at the time of the offense alleged, and the charge would be a felony if it was committed by an adult

Other than a murder charge, there are limited exceptions to these conditions.

Crimes committed at school
If a crime is committed by a juvenile on school property or on a school bus, the juvenile can be expelled from his or her school while also being prosecuted in the courts. Many school districts in or around Las Vegas have a zero-tolerance policy toward violent or drug offenses.

If your child is suspected of having committed a criminal offense, never let him or her talk to school officials or law enforcement until you have retained us as your attorneys. We’re dedicated and experienced attorneys in both the juvenile and adult courts in Nevada. Contact us for a consultation and case evaluation, and we can discuss the strategies and alternatives that might best resolve the situation. Don’t believe what law enforcement might tell you. Defenses exist.