Wednesday, March 31, 2021 | 2 a.m.
Carson City — Related Content
Minors arrested for alcohol and marijuana charges often face long-term legal implications that can follow them for years.
Assembly Bill 158, which was introduced earlier this month at the Nevada Legislature, will help provide second chances, the bill’s supporters say.
“I have seen far too many people, especially Black and brown youth in our community receiving a criminal record long before they even get their first job,” said Assemblywoman Daniele Monroe-Moreno, a Southern Nevada Democrat, who introduced the bill this month in the Assembly Committee on Judiciary.
Under current law, minors who get caught with alcohol or less than 1 ounce of marijuana could face a misdemeanor conviction that may include a jail sentence of up to six months and/or a $1,000 fine.
The proposal calls removing the charge and fine, and instead making the offense akin to a minor traffic violation — with no jail time. The records of offenders between the ages of 18 and 21 would be sealed once court requirements were met.
The penalties were still being discussed by lawmakers and other stakeholders, such as Nevada prosecutors.
For children, the first offense would lead to community service that doesn’t exceed 24 hours. In a second offense, the court could order the offender to attend a panel in which they meet and speak to victims of crimes, such as DUI. Third and subsequent offenses would allow the court to seek an evaluation of the child to refer to additional resources.
The intention of the bill, lawmakers and supporters stressed, is to avoid the school-to-prison pipeline that can be triggered