What does contributing to the delinquency of a minor mean?
Covered under the Abuse of Children Statute, Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor is generally defined as helping or encouraging someone under 18 years old to break the law.
According to Florida Statute 827.04, any person who:
- Commits any act which causes, tends to cause, encourages, or contributes to a child becoming a delinquent or dependent child or a child in need of services;or
- Induces or endeavors to induce, by act, threat, command, or persuasion,a child to commit or perform any act, follow any course of conduct, or live in a manner that causes or tends to cause such child to become or to remain a dependent or delinquent child or a child in need of services, commits a misdemeanor of the firstdegree.
The penalty is to up to a year in jail, plus probation, community service, and fines. If the charges involve a family member or dependent child, the court may order supervision by the Department of Children and Families. Anyone facing criminal charges should immediately contact an attorney. Call 407-644-2466 for a free consultation with an experienced Orlando criminal defense attorney at the Rivas Law Firm.
Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor Examples
The law defines a delinquent act as a crime committed by a person under the age of 18:
Under Florida Statute 984.03, a delinquent act is “a violation of any law of this state, the United States, or any other state which is a misdemeanor or a felony or a violation of a county or municipal ordinance which would be punishable by incarceration if the violation were committed by an adult.”
Of course, in addition to being prohibited from committing adult crimes, some activities are legal for adults but illegal for juveniles. Drinking and smoking, for example. Laws against Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor are on the books to discourage adults from encouraging – or helping – minors to break the law.
Prosecutors often bring these charges in cases where parents allow minors to drink alcohol
or do drugs in their homes. Other common examples include forcing or encouraging a child to regularly skip school or situations in which young adults have minors accompanying them when they commit burglaries or steal cars.
When a contributing to the delinquency of a minor charge involves alcohol, prosecutors may also bring a separate charge of violating Florida Statute 562.11(1). The law prohibits providing alcohol to persons under 21 years old. It’s a second-degree misdemeanor with a sentence of up to 60 days in jail, plus fines and probation.
Defense Against Charges of Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor
There are numerous defenses to charges of Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor. First of all, a prosecutor has to prove that someone “knowingly” enabled or encouraged a minor to break the law. An attorney may be able to argue that a defendant didn’t know their actions contributed to a crime or that the subject involved was a minor.
Also, a lawyer may argue that prosecutors interpreted the definition of the word “contribute” too broadly. An aggressive and experienced criminal defense lawyer will thoroughly investigate all aspects of your case. Police are required to follow procedures during an arrest, and prosecutors must take care in preparing charges. If you face child abuse or neglect charges, you’ll want the best criminal defense lawyer you can get. Consider the Orlando Criminal Defense Attorneys at the Rivas Law Firm. Call 407-644-2466 for a free consultation.