Understanding Juvenile Assault and Aggravated Assault Charges in Nevada

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Juvenile assault and aggravated assault charges carry serious implications that can significantly impact a young person’s future. Understanding the legal framework surrounding these charges is crucial for parents, guardians, and juveniles themselves.

In the state of Nevada, specific laws govern how these juvenile offenses are handled. Minors can be tried either as a juvenile or an adult depending on the severity of the crime. This distinction is important as it can determine the penalties and long-term consequences for the individual.

As a parent or guardian, it is crucial to educate yourself on these matters and seek legal advice to ensure the best possible outcome for your child. If you or someone you know is in need of a juvenile lawyer, contact The Defenders.

Our attorneys have represented people in Las Vegas and throughout Nevada for many years. We understand the complexities of any crime, including juvenile assault cases, and we are dedicated to protecting our clients’ rights. Call our office today for a free private consultation.

What Constitutes Juvenile Assault or Aggravated Assault?

Juvenile assault is defined as intentionally causing harm or threatening to cause harm to another person without their consent. This includes physical violence, but it can also include verbal threats that put someone in fear of immediate harm.

Examples of situations that can be classified as juvenile assault include fights at school or on the playground, bullying incidents, etc.

Aggravated assault, on the other hand, involves the use of a deadly weapon or the intentional infliction of substantial bodily harm. This can include assaults with a firearm, knife, or other dangerous instrument, as well as assaults that result in serious injuries requiring medical attention.

Note that assault doesn’t require actual physical contact – just the threat of harm is enough to constitute an offense.

Under Nevada law, juvenile assault is typically charged as a misdemeanor, while aggravated assault can be charged as a felony.

Legal Consequences for Juveniles

The penalties for juvenile assault and aggravated assault can range from probation and community service to incarceration in a juvenile detention center or adult prison. The severity of the charges will depend on several factors, including the age of the offender, their criminal history, and the circumstances surrounding the incident.

When a minor (under the age of 18) is accused of assault in Nevada, the case typically begins in the juvenile court system. The juvenile court has jurisdiction over these matters and aims to provide rehabilitation and guidance, rather than solely punitive measures. Potential consequences in juvenile court may include probation, community service, fines, or placement in a juvenile detention facility.

However, in certain circumstances, a juvenile may be “certified” or transferred to the adult criminal court system (more on this below). In these cases, the juvenile faces the same penalties as an adult, including the possibility of incarceration in an adult correctional facility.

Factors Influencing Certification to Adult Court

Several factors can influence a judge’s decision to transfer a juvenile case to adult court. These include the severity of the offense, the offender’s age and maturity, and the potential for rehabilitation.

Below are some instances when the prosecutor can request a child to be tried as an adult:

  • Aged 14 or older and charged with an offense that would be a felony if committed by an adult. For example, assault with a deadly weapon (aggravated assault) is a category B felony if committed by an adult. This means if a 16-year old is charged with aggravated assault, the prosecutor can petition to certify the juvenile as an adult.
  • Aged 13 or older and charged with murder or attempted murder. This means if a 14-year old is accused of these offenses, they can be tried as an adult.
  • Aged 16 or older and charged with sexual assault involving the use of force or violence against a victim. For example, if a 17-year old is accused of rape using physical force, they can be certified as an adult.
  • Aged 16 or older and charged with an offense involving the use of firearms. In this case, even though the juvenile may not have committed aggravated assault (which involves actual bodily harm), they can still be transferred to adult court if a firearm was used or threatened to be used.

For example, a school fight that turned into a homicide in a Las Vegas high school last year resulted in the arrest of 8 juveniles, aged 13-17. Due to the reasons outlined in point #2 above, a motion was made to certify and try them as an adult.

How Much Time Can a Juvenile Get for Assault With a Deadly Weapon (Aggravated Assault)

If a juvenile is tried and convicted as an adult for aggravated assault, they face the same penalties as an adult. In Nevada, this offense carries a maximum sentence of 1 to 6 years in prison, including up to $5,000 in fines.

If the child was tried and convicted as a juvenile, the penalties may include probation, community service, or placement in a juvenile detention facility. However, if they continue to engage in criminal behavior as they get older, their record may be taken into account during sentencing as an adult.

However, as with most cases, the actual sentence will depend on several factors, including the circumstances of the case and any mitigating or aggravating factors present. This is why it is crucial to have experienced legal representation when facing these charges.

The Importance of Hiring a Criminal Defense Lawyer

When a child is facing juvenile assault charges in Las Vegas, it is crucial to have an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side. A skilled attorney can navigate the complex legal landscape, advocate for your child’s rights, and work to achieve the best possible outcome.

Preventing Certification to Adult Court

One of the primary goals of a defense lawyer is to prevent the case from being transferred to adult court. They can build a strong argument, highlighting the child’s circumstances, rehabilitation potential, and the appropriateness of the juvenile justice system in addressing the alleged offense.

By presenting a comprehensive case that illustrates the benefits of keeping the child within the juvenile system, the lawyer aims to convince the court that the child deserves a chance at rehabilitation rather than punishment. This may include expert testimony, character witnesses, and evidence of the child’s positive behavior and commitment to change.

Negotiating Plea Bargains

A knowledgeable attorney can also negotiate with the prosecution to potentially reduce the charges or secure a more favorable plea bargain. This can help minimize the long-term consequences for the child, such as the impact on their criminal record and future opportunities.

Additionally, the attorney may explore alternative sentencing options, such as diversion programs or community service, that focus on rehabilitation rather than incarceration. By doing so, they aim to provide the child with opportunities for personal growth and a second chance at a productive life, avoiding the harsh realities of the adult criminal system.

Protecting Your Child’s Rights

Throughout the legal process, a criminal defense lawyer will ensure that your child’s rights are protected, from the initial investigation to any court proceedings. They will advocate for your child’s interests, challenge any evidence or procedures that may be questionable, and work tirelessly to secure the best possible outcome.

Can I Seal My Juvenile Records?

One of the advantages of being tried as a juvenile is that their records can be sealed upon reaching adulthood, typically at age 21. This generally means that arrests, charges, and any adjudications will not appear on their public record or background checks. Importantly, individuals do not need to petition the court to seal these records; the court will handle it automatically.

However, if they are certified as an adult and convicted in criminal court, these records may become part of their permanent criminal record. You then have to wait the required amount of time, as outlined in Nevada’s sealing laws, before petitioning the court to seal or expunge these records.

For this reason, it is crucial to do everything possible to prevent certification and protect your child from the long-term consequences of being tried as an adult. By hiring a skilled defense lawyer and advocating for your child’s rights, you can give them the best chance at a successful future.

Facing Criminal Charges? Hire The Defenders

If your child is facing juvenile assault charges in Las Vegas, do not hesitate to contact The Defenders. Our experienced criminal defense attorneys have a proven track record of success and are committed to protecting the rights and future of every client we represent.

The Defenders have been representing clients in Nevada for many years, and our team has a deep understanding of the juvenile justice system. We will fight tirelessly to ensure that your child receives fair treatment and the best possible outcome. Contact us today for a free consultation and let us help you defend your child’s future.

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