Adults have a duty to protect children from harming themselves or someone else and breaking the law. This is what you might ordinarily think of as contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
However, the law that describes the crime of contributing to the delinquency of a minor in California is incredibly broad.
A conviction for any crime has the potential to impact your life negatively.
It is vital to work with a criminal defense lawyer who has a substantial amount of experience to help you if you find yourself facing child delinquency charges.
The California criminal defense lawyers from The Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong, APLC, have the experience, skill, and knowledge you need when you have criminal charges filed against you.
Contact us today to get started.
What Does Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor Mean?
California Penal Code section 272 defines the crime of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
Penal Code section 272 prohibits adults from committing an act, failing to act, or otherwise failing to perform a lawful duty in a way that encourages, threatens, persuades, induces, or contributes to a person under 18 becoming a dependent of the juvenile court, a delinquent child, or a habitual truant.
As you can see, Penal Code section 272 uses broad terms. The common understanding of the charge revolves around causing or encouraging a child to break the law.
However, you can face criminal charges for contributing to the delinquency of a minor if a child becomes dependent on the juvenile court system.
You could also face contributing to the delinquency of a child if your child is a habitual truant.
A habitual truant is a child who refuses to obey parental rules, violates curfew, or has more than four unexcused absences from school.
Finally, Penal Code section 272(b) criminalizes a person 21 or older who does not have a strong relationship with a child communicating with a child under 14 to persuade or lure them away from their parents.
Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor Examples
Perhaps the classic example of contributing to the delinquency of a minor is buying alcohol for someone under 18. Bringing a child along as a lookout in a robbery is another example.
As discussed above, you could face these charges if your child becomes dependent on the juvenile court system.
That can happen in situations where a child:
- Becomes the victim of child neglect, sexual abuse, or physical abuse;
- Suffers emotional injuries due to mistreatment; or
- Has no means of support.
In these situations, a parent or guardian has simply stopped acting as a parent and forced the state to assume care for the child.
An example of luring may be persuading a child you do not have any relationship with to commit a crime.
Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor Punishment
Is contributing to the delinquency of a minor a felony? It is not.
The crime is a misdemeanor that carries a maximum jail sentence of one year and a fine of up to $2,500. Also, a judge can impose a period of probation of up to five years.
Contact a California Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
Criminal defense lawyer Kerry L. Armstrong is one of the relatively few criminal defense lawyers certified by the State Bar of California’s Board of Legal Specialization.
He and his team have tried well over 100 cases before a jury. They have the experience you need to minimize the impact of criminal charges on your life.