Juvenile crimes are committed by a minor, under the age of 18. In Las Vegas, most crimes committed by underage culprits are tried in juvenile courts. Unlike adults, minors often commit felonies under peer pressure, under the instigation of an adult, or psychological turmoil they might be facing due to childhood trauma.
A juvenile has every right to a proper defense to cultivate all the factors that led him to commit the crime. Here is how any Las Vegas criminal defense lawyer will be able to help with that.
1. Determining the Nature of the Crime
In most cases, children of ten years or younger are deemed incapable of committing a severe crime knowing about its outcome. In most juvenile crimes, the accused states that they did not know what it would lead to.
Youngsters also commit crimes under compulsion as it is easier to coerce them into doing something with wily tactics. They are often incapable of using their judgment to differentiate between right and wrong.
Although the crime could have been committed through their hands, the extent of their participation should decide how guilty they are, and this is what a criminal lawyer helps establish in the court of law.
2. Establishing a Child’s Mental Health
A criminal lawyer adept at handling juvenile cases can help establish the juvenile’s mental health condition when committing the crime. Was the accused trying to put an end to abuse to which he had been repeatedly subjected from childhood? Was the child emotionally unstable because he was abandoned and was ridiculed by his peers? Is the juvenile a repeat offender, having been charged with similar crimes before? If yes, is there a pattern to those crimes, and could it result from an unspoken trauma? Is the child committing a crime out of compulsion, like being a kleptomaniac, and needs therapy?
A criminal lawyer handling juvenile cases will often work with child psychologists and try to tell the story from the juvenile’s perspective for a fair trial.
3. Determining Adequate Punishment
Most crimes committed by juveniles are tried in juvenile courts, and they are given punishment accordingly. Accused and guilty will end up at Spring Mountain Youth Camp in Las Vegas.
However, in some cases, under section NRS 62B.390, some youngsters who have crossed the age of 14 may be tried as adults, depending on the nature of the crime. This is in case of crimes that are considered too heinous or where a weapon has been used to injure or even kill the victim.
The criminal lawyer will determine the extent of the crime to ensure that the sentence is adequate to the degree of crime committed and that the child does not end up overcompensating. Unnecessary punishments can do more harm than good, and there should be constructive sentences that will help them become better citizens in the future.
If you think any juvenile close to you has been wrongfully charged and is entitled to a proper defense, then you should seek help from a Las Vegas criminal defense lawyer. From gathering evidence to questioning witnesses, they will provide you with every assistance for a fair trial, from preparing documentation to final petitions.