Contributing to the Delinquency or Dependency of a Child

Is it really illegal to encourage your child to miss school? The answer may surprise you. If you have been charged with a crime for encouraging your child to carry out a specific action, you may be held accountable. Adults can be charged with a crime for encouraging, allowing, or assisting a juvenile (someone under the age of 18) to break the law, or even to contribute to their own dependency. While the juvenile themselves may not be charged with any misdemeanor or felony at all, an adult can face serious life-changing penalties.

Defining a Delinquent, in Need of Services, and Dependent Child

According to Florida statute 827.04, it is a first-degree misdemeanor for an adult to commit an action that causes, encourages, or contributes to a child becoming delinquent, dependent, or in need of services. It is also a violation of this statute to induce, attempt to induce, threat, command, or persuade a child to take any action that contributes to their delinquency or status of being in need of services or dependent. The following describes what those terms mean:

  • A child who has become “delinquent” is a child who has violated any state, municipal, or federal law;
  • A “child who is found to be dependent” includes both a child who has been abandoned, abused, or neglected by their parents or guardians, as well as a child who has been surrendered to the former Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services; and
  • A “child in need of services” includes a child who has persistently run away from home, missed school, and has persistently disobeyed the lawful and reasonable demands of their parents/guardians, according to Florida statute 984.03.

Common Examples of Violations of this Statute

  • Giving alcohol or illegal controlled substances to a minor;
  • Encouraging or forcing a child to habitually miss school days;
  • Encouraging a child to steal or break the law in any other way; and
  • Encouraging a child to run away from home.

Impregnating a Youth: Third Degree Felony

It is a third-degree felony for any person over the age of 21 to impregnate a child under the age of 16. Neither the child’s consent or lack of chastity is a legal defense for violating this section. Moreover, no other offenses need to have been committed during the act for the adult to be charged under this statute. A third-degree felony is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

Call a West Palm Beach Lawyer for Legal Defense

There are many defenses to charges filed against you under this statute, but you must first contact an experienced attorney. The West Palm Beach criminal defense lawyers of the Skier Law Firm are here to help you today. Contact us at once to get started on your defense. We have assisted countless clients who beat charges against them or have penalties drastically reduced.


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