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Raising Your Relative's Kids

Juvenile Court Services

Judge sitting behind bench.

Some parents, at some time, may find themselves and their child involved in the Department of Juvenile Justice Services. This is a brief chapter on what you may expect.

Many misdemeanor offenses, such as curfew and petty larceny, are referred to the juvenile court as a result of the police officer issuing the youth a ticket known as a "citation." The citation is an order to appear at the Intake Office at Juvenile Court on a specific date and time. You or your spouse must also appear with the child. If the date is inconvenient, call the number on the citation and ask that the appearance time be changed to a more convenient time.

In instances of a felony offense, such as burglary or auto theft, as well as some misdemeanors, the police will "arrest" your child and transport him or her to juvenile court for "booking." The child will be placed in handcuffs for his or her safety and that of the police officer's. At booking, the child will be asked for identifying information and will be searched (again, for his safety and that of others) and will be placed into a cell. You will be contacted and directed to go to juvenile court immediately to meet with a juvenile probation officer (JPO). You can expect the JPO to inquire into all facets of your child's life, including behavior, drug or alcohol use, school performance and other lifestyle choices. Your child will be asked about the offense he or she has been arrested for. If your child is viewed as a threat to community safety or at risk of not appearing for future court hearings, he or she may be detained in juvenile detention until a judge reviews your child's case.

If your child admits guilt, or is found guilty at trial, the court will impose a sentence which can include a warning, order of payment of a fine or restitution, counseling, a period of supervision, or incarceration in a correctional facility. The severity of the sentence is based on the severity of the offense, your child's record with the court and overall behavior.

There is not a single road map that will describe the outcomes of the more than 20,000 youth referred to juvenile court each year. In all cases, you will be asked for your input, will have the opportunity to ask questions, and should your child want an attorney and you cannot afford one, you will be offered legal counsel though the Public Defender's Office. Should the court order counseling or other services, you are required to participate. If your child is placed in a correctional facility or treatment home you will be required to pay for part of the cost of his or her care based on a sliding scale.

More information about Juvenile Court. Particularly helpful is the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section.

Probation Juvenile Intake
Family Court Bldg.
601 N Pecos Road
Las Vegas, NV 89101
(702) 455-5380

"Life of Crime" Program

"Life of Crime" is a special educational program designed to reach out to teenagers aged 12-17 and their parents. It is conducted in the courtroom of the North Las Vegas Municipal Court. "A Life of Crime" is a two-part program, lasting about 2.5 hours in total. For the date of the next program or to make a reservation, please call the North Las Vegas Municipal Court at (702) 633-1130, option 3.