31Jul, 2019

Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor in NC – A Guide
Posted By: Schlosser & Pritchett

Teens can do some pretty reckless things. Sometimes, they have the help of adults.

One Greenville teen was recently killed in a DUI accident when her friend, who was driving intoxicated, crashed their car, for instance.

Sadly, the girl’s father had a history of furnishing alcohol to his daughter and her friends. He allegedly did so on the evening of the accident, as well. The girl’s father now faces charges for contributing to the delinquency of a minor, together with a litany of others.

The outcome of this tragic occurrence is exceptional, but the offense of contributing to the delinquency of a minor happens all the time.

Many adults don’t even know they could face criminal charges for their actions. So today, we review what it means to contribute to the delinquency of a minor, and the consequences you could face if charged with this offense.

What North Carolinians Need to Understand about Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor

If you’re an adult and persuade or help minors commit acts of juvenile delinquency, you can be charged with the criminal offense of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

A minor is anyone under the age of 18. Any crime committed by a minor, for example, underage alcohol possession, is an act of juvenile delinquency.

The two common elements of contributing to the delinquency of a minor are:

  • You, as an adult, committed an act or failed to act;
  • Which caused (or would tend to cause) a minor to become or remain a dependent of the juvenile court, a delinquent, or a habitual truant.

Particularly important are the words “or would tend to cause.” This means that in order to be proven guilty of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, the minor(s) involved don’t actually have to commit a crime.

Common Scenarios for Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor

Any act you (an adult) commit that encourages or allows minors to engage in delinquent activities is considered to be contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

If you carry beer next door with the intent of giving it to your underage neighbor, for example, you’ve already contributed to the delinquency of a minor. This is regardless of whether or not they take it, they drink it, or they are later found under the influence. You could still face charges.

Here are a few more common scenarios:

  • Purchasing or providing alcoholic beverages to minors
  • Allowing minors to use illicit drugs or consume alcohol in your presence
  • Having a minor assist you in the commission of a crime like shoplifting or selling drugs
  • Allowing a minor to drive a vehicle without a driver’s license or learner’s permit
  • Providing a minor with a fake ID to purchase alcohol or enter a drinking or other adult-only establishment
  • Providing illegal drugs to a minor
  • Accompanying a minor in the commission of a criminal act
  • Convincing or encouraging a minor to commit a criminal act

Although some states reserve this offense for adults who are the parents or guardians of delinquent minors, in North Carolina, anyone over the age of 16 can be charged with this offense.

Sentencing and Penalties for Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor in NC – A Guide

In North Carolina, contributing to the delinquency of a minor is a Class 1 Misdemeanor, which is punishable by 1-120 days of active, intermediate or community punishment. Criminal fines are left to the discretion of the court.

Significant criminal charges and collateral consequences are also at stake. Depending on the circumstances, you could face charges relating to reckless endangerment or injury to a child. If the minor is your child and you have shared custody, your custody and/or visitation could be affected, as well.

This is why it’s so important to know the laws surrounding contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and to avoid inadvertently committing this offense.

If you are currently facing charges, and have questions or need advice, reach out to a North Carolina defense attorney to get the needed insight.