According to the Children’s Defense Fund, teens and children in the United States are 15 times more likely to die from gunfire than their peers in 31 other high-income nations combined.
Amidst all the other issues we had regarding COVID-19, 2020 became the deadliest year in the last twenty years for gun violence in the United States. While many of these shootings were adult crimes, others have been a matter of juveniles without oversight with ready access to guns.
On January 28, a man and two children were shot at a storage facility in Laughlin. The man died of his wounds, and both children were airlifted to a local hospital. The suspect was taken into custody after shooting at his wife and children who had come up to the facility to check on him. According to his wife, the man had been suffering mental issues after a serious car crash. Several shootings involving juveniles in Las Vegas have been in the news in the past few months.
According to everytownresearch.org, firearms are the leading cause of death among teenagers and children in Nevada, with an average of 36 juvenile gun deaths each year, 53 percent of which are homicides. Statistics from Clark County alone show that law enforcement agencies investigated 245 homicides last year, many involving juveniles.
Many juvenile shootings are perpetrated by other juveniles who have ready access to firearms. Juvenile offenders often lack the maturity to understand the gravity of their actions until it is too late. Because of this, we have a juvenile justice system that focuses on a juvenile’s rehabilitation instead of their punishment.
Unfortunately, however, we have seen a trend toward transferring more serious juvenile crimes into the adult judicial system. While the juvenile division of the district court maintains jurisdiction over juveniles under the age of eighteen, the prosecutor may ask the court to certify a juvenile as an adult if the offense would be considered a felony if it were committed by an adult, and the juvenile is fourteen or over.
For juvenile offenders who are tried as adults, they face the same penalties as adult offenders, including prison sentences. We know that once a juvenile has been convicted as an adult, their chances of rehabilitating into law-abiding citizens diminishes significantly.
For the parents of a juvenile offender, one of the most important things you can do is to get skilled counsel to ensure this doesn’t happen. In the state of Nevada, the juvenile court’s main objective is to keep children out of detainment and under watchful eyes.
The juvenile court may impose various punishments that are appropriate to the age and offense of the child, including probation, fines, restitution, work programs, community service, and even confinement to a juvenile correction facility. But when a child is transferred to the adult criminal justice process, this is no longer an option.
If you are the parent of a juvenile offender, you want to make sure that you get the best legal defense possible.
Call the Las Vegas juvenile defense attorneys at LV Criminal Defense at (702) 623-6362 to schedule a consultation to discuss your child’s case and understand your legal options.