The part of California law that outlaws contributing to the delinquency of a minor is Penal Code 272 or PC 272 for short. We usually view crimes as the actions of a single person. However, in this case, an adult may be prosecuted for simply having a negative effect on a minor. If you have been charged under Penal Code 272, it is important to know the law as well as how to defend yourself in a court of law.
What Does Penal Code 272 Say?
This penal code is actually very wide in scope. It is an extremely vague law that appears to suggest that any behavior by an adult that could contribute to a person under the age of 18 committing a crime, skipping school or becoming a dependant of the California juvenile court is a crime. The lack of specificity may seem strange, but it is the law on the books.
In fact, the adult in question doesn’t even have to take an action to contribute to that delinquency. Inaction alone to stop delinquent behaviors could in itself be a crime under this penal code. This brings an element of negligence into criminal law that is usually saved only for civil lawsuits.
The most common prosecution under this law is for adults that helped supply alcohol to minors. This usually happens when adults allow alcohol to be consumed at a minor’s party. It also occurs when an adult purchases alcohol for minors.
What Are the Penalties for Contributing to Juvenile Delinquency?
Contributing to the delinquency of a minor is classified as a misdemeanor under California law. If a person is convicted of this misdemeanor in California, the penalties could include a jail term of up to one year, a fine of up to $2,500 and probation of up to five years.
How Our Law Firm Can Help
Despite the fact this is a vague and illogical law, the penalties for breaking it can be extremely severe and badly damage a person’s life. This is why hiring an attorney that has experience defending clients charged under Penal Code 272 is important.
Due to the fact this law is rather vague and wide in scope, a successful defense is very possible. Overall, the public is probably wary of sending someone to jail for things like contributing to a minor skipping school. Despite the state of California wishing otherwise, most regular citizens do not think things like poor parenting should be criminalized. A good attorney should be able to take advantage of this in the courtroom. By playing up the unfairness of the situation, he or she can get the jury on the defendant’s side to obtain an acquittal.
Overall, however, each case is different due to the fact this law is very wide in scope. Adequate legal counsel is needed to know how to approach each kind of PC 272 case. Cases involving alcohol, for example, are likely to be tried differently than cases involving other kinds of delinquency. This is where a lawyer’s expertise comes into play.