Is a Minor Charged With Vandalism Treated as an Adult?

Vandalism in VegasFortunately, the Supreme Court of Nevada has ruled that customary statutory and criminal guidelines relevant in adult court do not apply in juvenile court actions. There are no jury trials, and issues handled in juvenile court are not considered criminal in substance.

What Is Juvenile Court?

Juvenile court in Nevada has jurisdiction over individuals under the age of eighteen who are charged with committing a crime.  It also has jurisdiction involving people twenty-one and under for unlawful acts the person allegedly committed before their eighteenth birthday. The Nevada legislature voted into law that one of the main goals of the juvenile justice system is to sponsor programs aimed at helping prevent children from becoming wards under the court’s jurisdiction.

However, children that do become subject to the jurisdiction of juvenile court must receive care and guidance in their own home whenever possible. Yet, there are consequences—especially for repeat offenders. This means only an established attorney has a good chance of keeping your child home with you and not in detention.

If your child has been charged with violating the law, you must take action quickly. This is a serious event. A qualified attorney can guide you through the process. Juvenile courts have the power to bring consequences on your son or daughter that will affect them for the rest of their lives.

Moreover, some criminal offenses committed by a child can also subject them to be charged as an adult and, if convicted, sent to prison.

How is a Minor Charged for Vandalism?

However a minor is charged, it varies according to the charges themselves. Obviously, harsher penalties are handed down for more serious offenses and for repeat-delinquents. Vandalism can be a serious charge. It depends on the type of damage and the number of times a minor commits the crime and the number of times they are convicted.

For example, if the damage is to a church or historical site, this is considered more extreme than simply egging a neighbor’s house. If a minor is convicted of vandalism, they are considered delinquent.

What are the Penalties?

The normal penalties for a finding of delinquency include: fines or community service; detention for up to nine (9) months; driver’s license suspension; a drug alcohol evaluation, and/or counseling. There may be restitution involved. In addition, if the vandalism was committed after curfew, a curfew violation may also be handed down. It is the Division of Child and Family Services (DCFS) who mandate where the minor child is detained—not the judge or the parent. Sometimes, the detention center is located far away and has limited access for visits. Detention centers are generally not good places to be for a child.

We provide expert criminal defense for minors accused of vandalism and other criminal acts. Call us as soon as possible after your son or daughter has been arrested to assist you in dealing with the Nevada juvenile justice system.