03 Oct 23

Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor in Florida: Laws, Penalties and Defense

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Last Updated on: 3rd November 2023, 07:11 pm


Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor in Florida: Laws, Penalties and Defense

Hey there, parents and guardians! I wanted to write this article to help explain the laws around contributing to the delinquency of a minor in Florida, what the penalties are if convicted, and some possible defenses. I know this can be a scary topic, but knowledge is power, right? Let’s break it down.

What Does the Law Say?

Florida Statute 827.04 makes it illegal to cause, encourage, or contribute to a minor becoming delinquent or dependent. This includes committing acts or omissions that cause minors to be in “need of services.”

Specifically, the law says you can’t: [1]

  • Commit a misdemeanor offense against a minor
  • Allow a minor to associate with people known to be criminals
  • Allow a minor to visit a place where illegal activities are known to occur
  • Allow a minor to remain in a place for an unlawful purpose

There’s also a provision about impregnating a minor under 16 – that’s considered an automatic act of child abuse. Yikes!

What Do These Terms Mean?

“Delinquent,” “dependent,” and “in need of services” all have specific definitions under Florida law:

  • A delinquent minor has committed a crime – either a misdemeanor, felony, or local ordinance violation – that would be punishable if committed by an adult. [3]
  • A dependent minor has been abused, abandoned, exploited, or lacks a capable caregiver. [4]
  • A minor in need of services has issues like truancy or running away from home. [2]

Penalties If Convicted

Contributing to the delinquency of a minor is a first-degree misdemeanor. Penalties can include:

  • Up to 1 year in jail
  • 12 months probation
  • Fines and court costs
  • Restitution
  • Community service

That’s serious stuff. A misdemeanor conviction goes on your permanent record and can really impact your life. Let’s talk defenses…

Possible Defenses

Some common defenses in these cases include:

  • You didn’t actually contribute to the delinquency – the minor’s actions were their own or someone else’s fault. [3]
  • You lacked knowledge about the minor’s activities or the nature of the location they visited. [2]
  • You made reasonable efforts to control or supervise the minor. [4]
  • You were falsely accused by someone with an ulterior motive.

An experienced criminal defense attorney can evaluate the facts in your case and build the strongest defense. Don’t go it alone!

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Get Help From a Lawyer

If you’re facing charges like this, please get help from an attorney right away. A conviction can ruin your life. An attorney may be able to get the charges reduced or dismissed. Here are some lawyer resources in Florida:

Whew, that was a lot of information! I know these laws can be confusing and scary, but you’re not alone. Connect with an attorney right away if you’re facing charges for contributing to the delinquency of a minor. They can help protect your rights. Best of luck, and stay safe out there!