Truancy in Nevada is also known as chronic absenteeism, and it makes it hard for children to learn and perform well in school. According to the Truancy Prevention Outreach Program in Clark County, chronically absent students are less likely to succeed academically and more likely to drop out of school. The state has many programs and policies in place to prevent truancy and help students make it through school.
Children who are habitually truant may face penalties designed to discourage them from skipping school. Parents of habitually truant children may face misdemeanor charges as well. Our criminal defense lawyer in Las Vegas with De Castroverde Criminal & Immigration Lawyers may be able to help if you or your child face penalties for truancy.
What Is Truancy in Nevada?
NRS 392.130 defines truancy as any unexcused absence of one period or more from the school day. An absence may be excused if the child’s teacher or principal gives the child a written approval for the absence. Any of these adults, as well as the child’s parents, can excuse a child who is physically or mentally unable to go to school.
If a school declares a student a truant three or more times in one school year, that child is a habitual truant, according to NRS 392.140. If a school declares a student truant in one school year and that student has an unexcused absence in the next school year, that child may be declared a habitual truant again.
What Are the Penalties for Truancy in Nevada?
The court can order supervision of students who are habitually truant. They may also face certain penalties, as laid out in NRS 62E.430:
First Instance of Adjudicated Supervision
- Fine of not more than $100 or
- Not less than 8 hours but not more than 16 hours of community service
- For children 14 and older: Suspension of the child’s driver’s license for at least 30 days but not more than 6 months or prohibition of the child from applying for a driver’s license for 30 days
Second and Subsequent Instances of Adjudicated Supervision
- Fine of not more than $200 or
- Not more than 10 hours of community service
- For children 14 and older: Suspension of the child’s driver’s license for at least 60 days but not more than one year or prohibition of the child from applying for a driver’s license for 60 days
The court may suspend payment for any fines if the child attends school for 60 consecutive days or has a valid excuse for any absences during those 60 days.
How Do Schools in Nevada Handle Truancy?
Schools must follow rules set by the state of Nevada when it comes to handling truancy. All measures that schools take should encourage or convince the student to attend school, particularly for students who are not yet habitual truants. NRS 392.144 describes the steps schools should take with students who are habitually truant:
- Report the student to an attendance officer, school police officer, or local law enforcement, who can then investigate and potentially issue a citation
- Refer the student to the advisory board
- Refer the student for administrative sanctions
School Attendance Advisory Boards
NRS 392.147 states that school attendance advisory boards will hold a hearing that the student and his parent or guardian should attend. This hearing will review the student’s attendance and determine a plan to help him. The board may decide that the student can resolve the situation by participating in programs and services available in the community. When this happens, the student, his parent/guardian, and the board sign a written agreement outlining the requirements.
If the student refuses to agree or fails to meet the requirements, the board may refer the student for a citation to appear in court according to NRS 392.149 or administrative sanctions.
Administrative Sanctions for Habitual Truancy
Administrative sanctions for habitual truancy are meant to discourage students from skipping school regularly. NRS 392.148 outlines the sanctions:
- First time sanctions: For students 14 and older, suspension of the child’s driver’s license for at least 30 days but not more than 6 months or prohibition of the child from applying for a driver’s license for 30 days
- Second and subsequent sanctions: For students 14 and older, suspension of the child’s driver’s license for at least 60 days but not more than one year or prohibition of the child for applying for a driver’s license for 60 days
Can an Officer Take Custody of a Child for Truancy in Nevada?
A peace officer such as a school officer or attendance officer can take custody of a child who has been truant. NRS 392.160 states that the officer can take custody of any child between the ages of 7 and 18 years or any child over age 6 but not yet age 7 who is enrolled in public school and has been reported to be absent without an excuse.
If the officer takes the child during school hours, he will deliver the child to the superintendent, principal, or another school officer. If the officer takes the child after school hours, he will deliver the child to his parent or guardian. In some cases, the officer will take the child to a designated counseling agency to provide counseling for the child and his parent or guardian.
Can Parents Face Charges for a Truant Child in Nevada?
Parents are responsible for making sure that their children attend school, so parents of habitually truant children can face charges. In some cases, parents encourage their children to be truant. For example, parents may request that their child go to work instead of school or skip school to watch younger siblings. Truancy robs these children of their right to an education, and it is against the law for parents to abet truancy.
Whatever the reason for their actions, parents of habitually truant children may face misdemeanor charges. NRS 193.150 outlines the penalties for a misdemeanor:
- Not more than six months in the county jail and/or
- Fine of not more than $1,000
- Community service in lieu of or instead of jail time and a fine
A Lawyer May Be Able to Help With Your Truancy Case in Las Vegas, Nevada
Our Nevada truancy lawyer with De Castroverde Criminal & Immigration Lawyers may be able to help if you have a child who is habitually truant. Our criminal defense lawyers can attend hearings with you, advocate for you and your child, work to get the charges against you reduced, and the penalties you face minimized.
Call our office today to learn more about how we can help you. We’re standing by 24/7 to take your call.