Las Vegas Criminal Law Blog

Crimes Where Your Child Could Be Tried as an Adult

If your child is accused of or charged with committing a crime, the first step you should take is to get your child competent legal representation. That said, what are the chances your child will be tried as an adult for the crime they are accused of committing?

Here is what you need to know.

Three Criteria

For most minors accused of a crime, juvenile court is where their case will be processed. There are three exceptions where a minor can be certified as an adult and tried under the adult crime statutes (the exact verbiage is found in NRS 62B.390):

  • Your child is under the age of 14 and accused of committing felonies
  • Your child is 16 or 17 and accused of committing sexual assault (NRS 200.366) or firearms offenses (in either case, the juvenile usually is certified)
  • Your child of any age is accused of murder (NRS 200.020.)

In the case of your child being accused of or charged with committing any other crimes, their case must remain in delinquency as opposed to criminal court.


It is not mandatory in many cases that your child be charged and tried as an adult. In the following cases, the court may not certify the child as an adult for criminal proceedings purposes:

  • Your child cannot understand the situation due to mental incompetence
  • Your child has substance abuse or behavioral issues that the juvenile court system can treat

Cases With Multiple Charges

If the charges are linked (your child is charged with a firearms conviction while selling drugs, for instance), and one charge can be elevated to adult status, generally, all will.

The Role of Judicial Discretion

Generally, Nevada law does not grant a lot of leeway for judicial discretion for either a judge or a prosecutor. Exceptions are listed above.


Adult criminal penalties and sentences are generally harsher than those imposed in the juvenile delinquency courts. Your judge can, however, determine the severity of any penalties. If your child is accused of or charged with committing any of the crimes that might get them in adult criminal court, contact the Law Offices of Benjamin Nadig for a free consultation.