Contributing To The Delinquency Of a Child In Florida: The Basics

A conviction for contributing to the delinquency of a minor can come with prison time and a hefty monetary fine. Know your rights.

Contributing to the delinquency of a minor is a legal term that can refer to a number of different accusations. Two of the more common include providing alcohol to a minor and having sexual relations with a minor.

A recent case receiving national attention involves a Florida woman who is facing charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and lewd and lascivious sexual battery. This case involves both situations, with the 23 year-old woman accused of providing a 15 year-old boy with marijuana and alcohol and then having sex.

More on contributing to the delinquency of a minor and Florida law

Florida Statute Section 827.04 states that any person who does the following is guilty of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, a misdemeanor of the first degree:

  • Committing any act that causes, tends to cause, encourages or contributes to a child becoming a delinquent or dependent child or 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 tends to cause such child to become dependent or delinquent child or child in need of services

State law defines a “child who has been found to have committed a delinquent act” as one who committed a violation of law or is in direct or indirect contempt of court. If convicted, criminal penalties including up to one year imprisonment and a monetary penalty of $1,000 can apply.

State law also makes it illegal for an individual 21 years of age or older to impregnate a child under the age of 16. This can lead to third degree felony charges of child abuse.

Defense Strategies

Contributing to the delinquency of a minor is a serious crime. Some of the defense strategies our attorneys have experience with include:

  • False Accusation
  • Mistake of Age
  • Lack of Knowledge as to the minors delinquent conduct
  • Consent of the minor’s parents

It is important to note that criminal charges are only the beginning. The presence of a criminal conviction for this crime on one’s record can result in social stigma as well. Many applications for employment, housing, college and scholarship opportunities question whether the applicant has a criminal conviction. Those that answer yes may find it more difficult to put together a successful application. A recent article in the New York Times discussed the issue, focusing on the difficulties of those attempting to gain admittance in college. Even when the criminal conviction clearly poses no threat to campus safety, the report noted that large numbers of applicants received a greater level of scrutiny when a criminal history was present.

Legal counsel can help

As a result, it is important to take criminal charges seriously. It is important for those facing charges to realize that state law does not require the child actually committed the delinquent act for the adult to be convicted of the crime. Defenses are available that can lead to a reduction or even dismissal of charges. Some examples can include innocence and mistaken age of the child. Each case will require a unique defense strategy to better ensure a successful outcome. Contact an experienced Florida criminal defense lawyer to discuss your options and better ensure your legal rights are protected.

Keywords: criminal defense contributing the delinquency of a minor