Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor

Criminal Defense Lawyers Defending The Accused in Clearwater

Families can be the source of tremendous joy and also crushing heartbreak. When the criminal justice system and family issues intersect, it is usually a recipe for the latter. Police, prosecutors and others in the criminal justice system take issues involving children especially seriously and usually don’t hesitate to file criminal charges when they have even the smallest indication that a criminal act has been committed against a child. Because of the sensitivity of criminal issues involving children, such law enforcement personnel can sometimes be overly cautions and institute needless criminal charges against family members who don’t necessarily deserve those charges.

The Florida legislature also takes crimes against children extraordinarily serious and have instituted many laws that are aimed to protect children. However, that noble pursuit sometimes results in overzealousness against people who actually end up charged with these offenses. One offense that falls under that description is known as contributing to the delinquency or dependency pf a child. If you have found yourself charged with such an offense, you should not hesitate to contact an experienced Clearwater criminal defense lawyer right away.

Elements of the Offense

Under Florida Statute 827.04, you can be charged and convicted of contributing to the delinquency of a child if it is proven that you cause, encourage, or contribute to a child either becoming a delinquent or dependent. Alternatively, you may also be convicted if the State proves that you encouraged, commanded, or induced a child to do any act or live in a manner that causes the child to become a delinquent. Such an offense is a first degree misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail or one year on probation.

Reading the words of the statute alone might not give you a clear understanding of what exactly the criminal conduct is. Unfortunately, this vague and confusing wording is not uncommon within the criminal justice system. Because of this, it is extremely important that you consult with a Clearwater criminal defense lawyer with the experience to best handle your case.

In laymen’s terms, the crime of contributing to the delinquency of a minor usually involves alleged child neglect on the part of the parents or legal guardian. While there are separate criminal charges for child neglect and abuse, contributing to delinquency allows the state to bring charges and punish people when they may not have direct evidence that the guardian of the child committed abuse.

Essentially, if a child becomes a ward of the state or is arrested for a crime and found delinquent, the powers-that-be will often try to place blame on the caretakers of that child. If the state has evidence that the parents, guardians, or other adults encouraged a child to commit crime, they will be charged under this criminal offense. Additionally, if the State proves that an adult responsible for the wellbeing of a child purposefully neglected the child to the extend that the State had to step in to provide services, those adults might also be charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

The government is not always the best judge of how to care for or raise a family. And law enforcement is quick to get involved in a situation where they think that a child may not be safe. Because of this, you may find yourself under investigation for this crime even if you have done nothing wrong. Because of the serious implications and potential penalties involved with a charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, you should never wait to retain a skilled Clearwater criminal defense lawyer.

Speak to Our Lawyers Today

The lawyers at Hanlon Law have the experience and the discretion to represent you and your family. We will work together to build the best defense for your specific case. Don’t hesitate to call us today at (727) 897-5413.