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NY Penal Law § 260.20: Unlawfully Dealing with a Child in the First Degree

July 5, 2020 Federal Criminal Attorneys

The crime of unlawfully dealing with a child involves exposing a child to or involving the child in activity deemed inappropriate for a minor. These activities can include sexual activity, illegal drugs, and tattooing. There are two charges for unlawfully dealing with a child in New York’s criminal code. The particular charge that you could be looking at depends upon the severity of the activity to which you subject the child.  You could be charged under New York Penal Law § 260.20 with unlawfully dealing with a child in the first degree if you:

  1. Consciously permit a minor child who is younger than 18 years old to stay in a place where sexual activity is taking place or where activity involving controlled substances or marijuana is taking place; or
  2. Provide or sell alcoholic beverages to someone who is younger than 21 years of age.

A Case Law Example

Police officers carried out a search warrant on an apartment where Ms. Sandra Diaz resided. When the officers entered the apartment, they found Ms. Diaz there, along with her boyfriend, her minor children, and her niece, who was 13 year old at the time. Inside the bedroom of the apartment, the officers spotted several packets of heroin and suboxone. Ms. Diaz was charged with unlawfully dealing with a child in the first degree. They brought this charge against her based on the fact that there were illegal drugs in the apartment in the presence of minor children. This was the case of the People v. Diaz, 2015 NY Slip Op 1302 (N.Y., 2015)

Offenses that are Related

Endangering the welfare of a child: New York Penal Law § 260.10

Unlawfully dealing with a child in the second degree: New York Penal Law § 260.21

Possible Defenses

Although the prosecutor may bring evidence to demonstrate that you violated the unlawfully dealing with a child in the first degree statute by providing or selling alcohol to someone who is younger than 21 years old, pursuant to New York Penal Law § 260.20, you can evade prosecution if you have never been convicted of this crime within the previous 5 years and you go though an alcohol training awareness program.

The Sentence

Unlawful dealing with a child in the first degree is categorized as a class A misdemeanor. Should you be convicted, your sentence could include up to 1 year in jail, a probation term of 3 years, and the payment of a substantial fine.

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