It depends on the circumstances.
Unless someone at least aged twelve (12) is supervising, Nevada law prohibits a parent or guardian from intentionally leaving a child aged seven (7) or younger alone in a car if either of the following is true:
- The conditions present a significant risk to the health and safety of the child, or
- The engine of the motor vehicle is running, or the keys to the vehicle are in the ignition
Nevada cops who see children unattended may break into the cars without having to pay for the damage to the vehicle. A common defense to this crime is that the parent or guardian honestly “forgot” that he/she left the child in the car; NRS 202.575 only punishes intentional acts.
The penalties for leaving a child unattended in a car in Nevada depend on whether the child suffered any injuries. As long as the child was not hurt, leaving a child unattended in a car is a misdemeanor carrying:
- up to 6 months in jail, and/or
- up to $1,000 in fines.
And for a first-time offense, the D.A. may agree to dismiss the case if the parent takes an education class.
But if the child was injured by being left unattended in a car, the D.A. may bring charges for felony child endangerment which carries prison time. And if the child perished, the D.A. could bring murder or manslaughter charges. Read more information on the Nevada crime of leaving a child unattended in a car and in our article leaving a child in a cold car in Nevada.
See our related article, Is Leaving a Child Unattended a Crime in Nevada?