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Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor - Makes no Sense?

Everyone reading this blog must agree on one thing. A felony should be a felony if a serious law violation occurs, right? All Colorado criminal statute law violations are written on that basis. Murder is worse than shoplifting, shooting someone is worse than punching them, and stealing $250,000 is worse than stealing $99. Why then is someone charged with a class four felony of Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor in Colorado if they induce, aid or encourage a child to litter, make loud noises at night, or let a dog bark? This looks like a situation sponsored by a special "child protection" interest group.

If an adult induces, aids or encourages a child to break ANY federal, state, city or county law or ordinance, they are guilty of Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor, C.R.S. 18-6-701. Has our legislature lost their mind? It takes 10 seconds to imagine a 17 year old boy (minor) and his 18 year old (adult) friend deciding to engage in a minor prank / crime like harassment by calling a girl they like and teasing her on the phone. One of the boys will be charged with a misdemeanor in juvenile court and one will be charged as an adult felon and could go to prison. There are dozens of scenarios like this which are easy to imagine.

It is crazy laws like this that make me wonder whether anyone in government is paying attention. It would be simple to make it a misdemeanor for an adult to aid a child in the commission of a misdemeanor, and a felony to aid a child in the commission of a felony. Yet after 25 years of this law being on the books in Colorado, it remains the same.

As a criminal defense lawyer, I get fired up over government mismanagement of our society. With all the damage caused by a felony conviction, why should we make it so easy for kids or careless young adults to commit a felony? We have too many people in prison and too many people unable to find a job. Felonies should be given out more selectively by our state government.

If you are charged with Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor, we can help. Many District Attorneys we work with are reasonable, and there are pleas which can avoid a felony conviction. Don't go it alone, but call an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Be smart, exercise your right to remain silent, and call us at 303-731-0719. Together, we can protect your future from this thoughtless law.

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