Juvenile Law, Juvenile Delinquency and Youth Crime in Nevada

This page serves as a general guide detailing how Nevada handles juvenile crimes, also known as juvenile delinquency or youth crime.


Definition of a child/juvenile in Nevada

In Nevada, a child is generally a person who is under 18 years old, with certain qualifications and exceptions. “Child” means a person who:

  • Is less than 18 years of age;
  • Is less than 21 years of age and is subject to juvenile court jurisdiction for an unlawful act committed before the age of 18; or
  • Is subject to the jurisdiction of the juvenile court as a juvenile sex offender.


Detaining minors for juvenile delinquency

The officer detaining a minor for delinquency typically has three choices on what to do with the child:

  • They can detain the minor and warn them about the consequences of their actions then releasing them after.
  • Detain and hold the minor until their parents or guardians arrive to release them.
  • Take them into custody and refer them to a juvenile court officer.


Separate courts for juvenile and adults

Juvenile/delinquent cases are handled by the American Juvenile Justice System. Their juvenile courts handle juvenile delinquency cases on a day-to-day basis to try and pass judgments on the crimes committed by children or teenagers not yet in the age of majority (18 in Las Vegas). There are some exceptions however wherein the adult justice system takes over the juvenile case.


Who can go to juvenile court?

Barring the upper limit of 18 (or 19 if graduating high school), which is the maximum age a person can be tried or judged in juvenile court, most juvenile courts generally use the following guidelines to decide if the minor should go to court or not.

  • Children under the age of 7 cannot be tried in juvenile or adult courts, but their parents may be held liable for the crime.
  • Minors between the ages of 7 to 15 will most likely be tried in juvenile court.
  • Adolescents between the age of 12 and 18 are normally taken to juvenile court, but will most likely be tried as adults if their crimes are serious.


Juvenile or adult justice system dependent on severity of crime

There are some situations in which young offenders are handled in the adult rather than the juvenile justice system.

  • Murder or attempted murder;
  • Sexual assault or attempted sexual assault involving use or threat of force or violence;
  • Offense or attempted offense involving use or threat of use of firearm;
  • Felony resulting in death or substantial bodily harm committed on school property when pupils or employees present, at an activity sponsored by a school, or on a school bus, with intent to create a great risk of death or severe bodily harm to more than one person;
  • Category A or B felony;
  • Offense that would have been a felony if committed by an adult;
  • Escape or attempted escape from lawful custody in facility for detention or correctional care of children.


Juveniles on probation

County juvenile probation departments have jurisdiction over children placed on probation who are in need of supervision or who have committed delinquent acts. The requirements for county juvenile probation departments vary, depending on the county’s population. Unlike adult probation, juvenile probation is a county function.


Juvenile sex offenders

If the child is judged by the juvenile court for an unlawful act that was sexually motivated or if the act would have been a sexual offense if committed by an adult, the court must place the child under the supervision of a parole or probation officer for at least three years, and impost a number of other conditions.


Contact us for juvenile delinquency charges

If you or a child has been charged with juvenile delinquency, don’t waste time and contact a Las Vegas criminal defense attorney as it may carry penalties that can be reflected later on in life. Contact us and we’ll do what we can do get the charges dropped or lowered.