In this section, our attorneys explain Nevada’s criminal laws and legal concepts, A to Z
Leaving children in your care without supervision, food, shelter, medical care, or other necessities is child abuse and neglect in Nevada (NRS 200.508).1
Nevada law has no legal minimum age for leaving a child home alone and unsupervised. Therefore courts would look at the totality of the circumstances to determine whether the parent, guardian, or child care worker committed neglect by leaving a child to fend for themselves. Some factors include:
Nevada does have a state law – NRS 202.485 – that makes it a crime to intentionally leave a child under eight years of age alone in a car if ether:
But as long as someone at least age 12 is actively supervising the young child, then the parent or legal guardian cannot face criminal charges for leaving a child unattended in a vehicle (NRS 202.485).2
The punishment for leaving a child unattended turn on the circumstances of the case:
Facts surrounding leaving the child unattended
|The child sustained substantial bodily harm or mental harm.||Category B felony:
|The neglect was willful, and the child did not sustain substantial bodily harm or mental harm.||Category B felony:
|The defendant merely permitted the neglect to occur, and the child did not sustain substantial bodily harm or mental harm.||Gross misdemeanor for a first offense:
Category C felony for a subsequent offense:
|Leaving children under 8 unattended in a vehicle while the keys are in the ignition, while the engine is running, or in potentially unsafe conditions.||Misdemeanor:
If the child was unharmed, courts may agree to dismiss the case if the defendant completes an education program about child welfare.4
Depending on the case, Nevada criminal defense attorneys may be able to get child neglect charges reduced or dismissed by arguing that:
If a reasonable doubt exists as to the defendant’s guilt, criminal charges should not stand.
See our related articles, Can I leave my kid alone in a car in Nevada? and Leaving your child in a cold car in Nevada may be a crime.
A former Los Angeles prosecutor, attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT). He has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, Dr Phil, Court TV, The Today Show and Court TV. Mr Shouse has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as one of the Top 100 Criminal and Top 100 Civil Attorneys.
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