Most people do not realize how easy it is to get charged with Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor, C.R.S. 18-6-701, in Denver or Jefferson County. If a person is convicted, he or she will pay for it the rest of their life.
I know that sounds dramatic, but it is true. A person can commit the crime of Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor by aiding or simply encouraging a child to violate any law! Any law includes all federal laws, all Colorado state laws, or local municipal ordinances, or court orders. This statute is a good example of the work we get from overly zealous lawmakers.
Definition of Terms for the Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor Statute
Before I give some examples of how easily good people may get ensnared by this law in Douglas or Weld County, there are a few terms you should know. This statute defines a child as someone less than 18 years of age. It also clearly states that charges would apply to anyone who aids or encourages a child to violate any law. It doesn’t matter if the child actually violates a law it only matters if she was encouraged to do so. Also, it does not eliminate the possibility of another child even younger than the victim to be the perpetrator. Finally, in law reviews concerning this statute, courts have ruled that someone may be convicted of this felony even if he or she did not know the person was a child. That said, here are some examples of how someone might be found guilty of Contributing to the Delinquency of a Child in Colorado.
Two Examples of How a Person Can be Convicted of Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor
1) A dad in Lakewood purchases fireworks and takes his 16 year old son out in front of his house. The dad provides the fireworks and tells his son to be careful and have fun. Not knowing about a Lakewood municipal law prohibiting the use of fireworks, Dad just committed a class 4 felony! One of the dad’s consequences for his crime is that he will never be permitted to possess anything that goes boom again.
2) 17 year old Billy goes on a date with his 16 year old girlfriend. His girlfriend encourages Billy to stay out past the 11 p.m. Jefferson County curfew, as defined in County Policy 3.6.1. As crazy at it may seem, Billy’s girlfriend could be found guilty of Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor. Read more examples of Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor.
I could come up with many other examples of how this ill formed law can be applied. Lawmakers and law enforcement officers do not often not use common sense when making or enforcing this law. Also, they apparently do not understand how ridiculously it can be applied to themselves or someone close to them.
If you are charged with Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor in Arapahoe County or elsewhere, you should know that the consequences can be severe. A felony conviction will prejudice anyone. At the O’Malley Law Office, P.C. we understand how well meaning people can be caught up in crazy laws. If confronted, our advice is to not argue with the police and politely decline to make any statements. Our criminal defense attorneys will listen to your story and develop a plan to fight for you. Remember, be smart, exercise your right to remain silent, and call us at 303-731-0719. Together we can protect your future.