California Penal Code Section 272 PC: Contributing To The Delinquency Of A Minor

1. Definition and Elements of the Crime

juvenile crime

There are situations where an adult’s actions or negligence contribute to a child becoming a delinquent or where an adult encourages criminal behavior in minors. In these situations, the adult can be charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor in violation of California Penal Code Section 272 PC.

To prove that a defendant has committed the crime of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, the following elements must be present:

  1. The defendant committed an act or omission.
  2. That caused a minor to become or remain a dependent of the juvenile court, a delinquent or a habitual truant.

It does not matter if the child actually is a court dependent, delinquent or truant, the prosecutor only needs to show that the adult’s actions would have the tendency to cause a child to become one of these things.

This statute is broad enough to encompass a wide variety of activities, and can include having sex with a minor, encouraging a minor to skip school, and even buying alcohol for a minor.

2. Examples

A man encourages his minor son to act as a lookout on a burglary he plans to commit. In addition to being prosecuted for burglary, the man could be charged under California Penal Code Section 272 PC because he encouraged a minor to engage in criminal activity.

A mother and father have a teenage son who frequently gets into trouble. They have diligently tried to control his behavior, but the child keeps ditching school and committing crimes. If the parents acts were reasonable and they did not encourage the delinquency, they could not be prosecuted for contributing to the delinquency of their son because they were unable to control his behavior.

3. Related Offenses

Other similar or related offenses include:

  1. Lewd Acts with a Minor - California Penal Code Section 288 PC
  2. Furnishing Alcohol to a Minor – California Business and Professions Code Section 25658 B&P

4. Defenses to Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor

As discussed above, a parent who has made reasonable efforts to protect or control their child would have a defense to any subsequent charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, as there are circumstances where a parent is simply unable to control a minor child.

In addition, a defendant may be the victim of a false accusation, as many minors understand that they have the power to get an adult into serious trouble just by making up claims against them. In these cases, the defendant would have to show how the minor may not be credible.

5. Penalties

Contributing to the delinquency of a minor is a misdemeanor offense that can be punishable by up to a year in jail, a substantial court fine, and other conditions of probation such as a mandatory parenting classes or counseling sessions.

In addition a conviction for this offense can cause various collateral consequences that can threaten careers. For teachers or others involved in education, a conviction under California Penal Code Section 272 PC can jeopardize teaching credentials and other professional licenses.

6. Criminal Defense for Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor Cases

Contributing to the delinquency of a minor is a serious criminal offense that can have far-reaching effects on jobs and licenses. As a result, if you or a loved one have been accused of this offense, it is very important that you speak with a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney right away. Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney Michael Kraut is a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience who understands how potentially devastating a conviction for contributing to the delinquency of a minor can be. Mr. Kraut has established key relationships within law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies and can often work pre-filing to help reduce criminal charges or even avoid them altogether.

For more information about contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and to schedule your free consultation, contactLos Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney Michael Kraut at the Kraut Law Group located at 6255 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 1480, Los Angeles, CA 90028. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 323-464-6453.

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