Contribute to the Delinquency of a Minor
Criminal law often interacts directly with other areas of the law. Criminal violations can affect property rights and criminal violations can often result in drivers license suspensions through the DMV. All of those interactions can cause criminal defendants great hardship and stress. No interaction is more stressful though, than the interaction between criminal law and family law. When criminal violations and family issues intersect, it is usually a recipe for real problems. There are many criminal statutes that more harshly punish crimes committed against family members, making these types of criminal violations all the more serious.
One of those offenses is the crime of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Many criminal statutes have a reputation for having vague or confusing language, and contributing to the delinquency of a minor is no exception. Essentially, it is a law punishes caregivers and parents when there is evidence that their action or inaction results in a child getting into legal trouble. If you or a loved one has been charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor, don’t hesitate to contact a dedicated St. Petersburg criminal defense lawyer.Elements of the Crime
Under Florida Statute 827.04, it is unlawful for any person to commit an act which causes, tends to cause, encourages, or contributes to a child becoming delinquent or dependent or in need of services. Delinquency means that a child is arrested or charged with a criminal offense. This means that if you are accused of doing any act that contributes to or induces a minor into committing a criminal offense, you could be charged under this statute. The statute was intended to punish people for deliberately recruiting children to commit crime, however, the vague language of the law has contributed to law enforcement charging people with this crime for much more innocent acts.
Under this law, you can also be charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor if you are accused of an action that results in a child becoming dependent or in need of services. This means that if the State of Florida determines that it must step in and remove a child from the custody of his or her legal guardian, or if the State determines that a child is in need of social or medical services, the guardian or parent can be charged with this crime if there is evidence that their actions contributed to the child’s dependency. A skilled St. Petersburg criminal defense lawyer can help to ensure that your rights are protected.Defenses to Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor
Many people think that neglectful parents should be punished with criminal punishments. In some circumstances, they may be right. But criminal laws are too often used to punish those in poverty and those who suffer from societal ills. Contributing to the delinquency of a minor is a first degree misdemeanor offense that can lead to imprisonment for up to one year, so if you are charged with this crime, it is critical that you retain a lawyer who will build a defense for your case.
One common defense to contributing to the delinquency of a minor is to present evidence that the minor was responsible for his or her own delinquency. Police and investigators can be quick to point fingers at parents or guardians when children find themselves in trouble, but especially in this day and age, children can be difficult to control or monitor. Just because a child has become delinquent, does not mean that the parents or guardians are at fault and should face criminal charges.Speak to Our Lawyers Today
The St. Petersburg criminal defense lawyers at Hanlon Law have the dedication and experience necessary to protect your rights and secure the best outcome for your case. If you have found yourself charged with this or any other criminal offense, contact us today at (727) 897-5413.