What is contributing to the delinquency of a minor?

Contributing to the delinquency of a minor (CDM) is a misdemeanor offense in Florida. Adults are often charged with this crime when they buy alcohol for someone who is underage. There are several viable defenses to CDM, which the Goldman Wetzel defense lawyers can discuss in more detail with you.

If you have been charged with CDM or a related offense, contact our criminal defense lawyers in St. Petersburg for a free consultation.

What constitutes contributing to the delinquency of a minor in Florida?

Florida Statute § 827.04 states that a person commits CDM when s/he:

commits any act which causes, tends to cause, encourages, or contributes to a child becoming a delinquent or dependent child or a child in need of services; or induces or endeavors to induce, by act, threat, command, or persuasion, a child to commit or perform any act, follow any course of conduct, or live in a manner that causes or tends to cause such child to become or to remain a dependent or delinquent child or a child in need of services.

In plain English, a person contributes to the delinquency of a minor when s/he helps or persuades a minor to commit a delinquent act. The state considers any violation of the law that would result in misdemeanor or felony charges a “delinquent act.”

A person might face CDM charges after:

  • Giving a minor alcohol or drugs
  • Allowing a minor to drink or do drugs at his/her house
  • Persuading a minor to steal a car

What are the penalties for CDM in Florida?

Contributing to the delinquency of a minor is a first-degree misdemeanor in Florida. It carries the following penalties:

  • Up to one year imprisonment; and
  • A $1,000 fine.

Impregnating a minor is a third-degree felony, punishable by a $5,000 fine and up to five years in prison. This offense often also brings other charges, such as lewd and lascivious battery or statutory rape.

What are some of the defenses to CDM?

For the court to convict you, the prosecution must prove you:

  • Knew you were helping a minor perform a delinquent act; or
  • Somehow induced the child to commit a crime.

There are several approaches to defending your case. If the prosecutor says you knew you were contributing to delinquency, we may use lack of knowledge as a defense, e.g., you did not know your son and his friends were drinking alcohol from your liquor cabinet in your basement.

If your actions did not, in fact, contribute to the delinquency of the minor, we can use lack of causation as a defense.

Call a St. Petersburg defense lawyer today to fight your CDM charges.

Having a mar on your criminal record can taint your career, community standing, and personal reputation.

Contact Goldman Wetzel to discuss exactly what you are up against and how to best approach your case. Our criminal defense attorneys, Summer and Maribeth, work together on each case. They each bring their own unique sets of skills to the table to help strengthen the defense. They will work to protect your best interests and push for the best possible outcome.

Get the quality legal representation you need. For a free consultation with a Goldman Wetzel defense lawyer in St. Petersburg, call 727-828-3900.