Different court procedures are used when a juvenile has committed a crime. Additionally, states will try to help them as much as possible to so they won’t commit them again in the future, but they won’t be as forgiving for more serious crimes. If you or a juvenile has been charged with a serious crime, a Las Vegas criminal defense attorney will be able to help you in cases like this.
How it starts
It all starts when a juvenile has been detained, and it is up to the officer to decide what they should do with them. They can issue a warning and let them off, detain them until a parent or guardian comes to release them, or they can refer them to juvenile court (for more information about juvenile crime, read our article Juvenile Justice).
When is a juvenile sent to adult criminal court?
Several factors are used to decide if a juvenile should be tried in adult criminal court.
Severity of crime. The more serious the crime, the greater the chance of them being tried in adult criminal court and receive harsher the punishments as well.
Frequency and past criminal records. By checking their past behavior, the courts can assume if the defendant is more likely to commit crime again in the future.
Age. Juveniles will be treated more leniently the younger they are.
Depending on the state, they may have automatic transfer laws that automatically transfers them to adult criminal court if the following conditions were fulfilled.
16 years old and above. Most people can reasonably assume that at this age, their reasoning skills have developed enough to distinguish right from wrong.
Serious offense. Everyone should be able to understand the consequences of committing serious crimes like murder or rape.
Does being tried in adult criminal court have advantages?
There are some advantages and disadvantages if a juvenile is tried in adult criminal court.
- Most states in the US do not have the right to provide a jury in juvenile court. The judge usually oversees the case on their own.
- The jury might be more inclined to give lighter charges.
- The defendant will receive more severe sentences which is usually reserved for adults.
- There’s a real possibility of serving time in prison instead of juvenile correctional facilities.
- There’s also a stigma if convicted in adult criminal court compared to juvenile court judgments.
- It is also harder to seal adult criminal records in Las Vegas compared to juvenile court records. They have to be sealed or expunged to make the record unavailable in the public and it could be years before they are allowed to do so.
For more information about Juveniles in adult criminal court, contact a criminal defense attorney in Las Vegas.