The New Mexico Delinquency Act creates three different types of juvenile offenders. The juvenile criminal offender's classification is very important, because it determines whether they may be tried as an adult. This in turn will determine the possible penalties they can receive.
A "serious youthful offender" is a child from 15 to 18 years old that is charged with first-degree murder. Once charged with first degree murder, they are no longer a juvenile under the law and are automatically sentenced as adults if they are convicted.
A "youthful offender" is a child aged 14 to 18 and found guilty of specified felony offenses (like second degree murder, assault with intent to commit violent felony, kidnapping, aggravated battery, criminal sexual penetration and robbery); who has three prior, separate felony convictions in the past three; or is 14 and found guilty of first degree murder. A youthful offender may receive either a juvenile or adult sanction.