I. PC 272: Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor Laws
Legal Definition: (a) (1) Every person who commits any act or omits the performance of any duty, which act or omission causes or tends to cause or encourage any person under the age of 18 years to come within the provisions of Section 300, 601, or 602 of the Welfare and Institutions Code or which act or omission contributes thereto, or any person who, by any act or omission, or by threats, commands, or persuasion, induces or endeavors to induce any person under the age of 18 years or any ward or dependent child of the juvenile court to fail or refuse to conform to a lawful order of the juvenile court, or to do or to perform any act or to follow any course of conduct or to so live as would cause or manifestly tend to cause that person to become or to remain a person within the provisions of Section 300, 601, or 602 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, is guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction thereof shall be punished by a fine not exceeding two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500), or by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than one year, or by both fine and imprisonment in a county jail, or may be released on probation for a period not exceeding five years.
(2) For purposes of this subdivision, a parent or legal guardian to any person under the age of 18 years shall have the duty to exercise reasonable care, supervision, protection, and control over their minor child.
(b) (1) An adult stranger who is 21 years of age or older, who knowingly contacts or communicates with a minor who is under 14 years of age, who knew or reasonably should have known that the minor is under 14 years of age, for the purpose of persuading and luring, or transporting, or attempting to persuade and lure, or transport, that minor away from the minor’s home or from any location known by the minor’s parent, legal guardian, or custodian, to be a place where the minor is located, for any purpose, without the express consent of the minor’s parent or legal guardian, and with the intent to avoid the consent of the minor’s parent or legal guardian
For a person to be convicted of a violation of PC 272(a)(1), it must be shown that you acted, or failed to act, and as a result a minor:
- Became a dependent of the juvenile court system;
- Became a juvenile delinquent; or
- Became a habitual truant.
For a person to be convicted of a violation of PC 272(b)(1), it must be shown that:
- You contacted or communicated with a minor;
- When you did so, you were an adult stranger to the minor;
- The minor was under 14 years of age at the time;
- You knew that you were contacting or communicating with a minor;
- You knew or reasonably should have known that the minor was under 14 years of age at the time of your communication;
- You contacted or communicated with the minor with the intent to persuade, lure, or transport/attempt to persuade, lure, or transport them for any purpose, away from the minor’s home/any location known by the minor’s parent/legal guardian/custodian as a place where the child is located;
- You did not have the express consent of the minor’s parent/legal guardian]
8. When your defendant acted, you intended to avoid the consent of the minor’s parent/legal.
9. You were not acting in an emergency situation.
II. What does this mean?
A parent or legal guardian has a duty to exercise reasonable care, supervision, protection, and control over his or her minor child. What this means, is as a parent or legal guardian, it is your responsibility to look after and care for the child. Thus, if your child were to get into serious criminal trouble, and be subject to criminal proceedings, even if you had nothing to do with those crimes as the parent, you could be charged with a violation of PC 272(a)(1). Another common example here is a single parent dating a person that then abuses the minor child. If it is known that abuse is happening, and the parent fails to act, then they would very likely be charged under this section.
An adult stranger is a person at least 21 years old who has no substantial relationship with the child or is merely a casual acquaintance, or who has established or promoted a relationship with the child for the primary purpose of victimization. Contact or communication includes the use of a telephone or the Internet. An emergency situation is a situation where a child is threatened with imminent bodily, emotional, or psychological harm. The concept behind this charge is when an adult stranger, who does not know the minor, attempts to bring them with them, without the parent’s knowledge. This is generally a catch-all offense, where if completed could lead to more serious circumstances, such as kidnapping, child molestation, or even sexual battery.
Contributing to the delinquency of a minor under PC 272(a)(1) is a misdemeanor offense. If you are convicted under this section, you can be sentenced to County Jail for up to six months. You would be required to serve 50% of that time in custody. Under PC 272(b)(1), it is a wobbler offense, meaning you to be charged under this section as a misdemeanor or as a felony. If you are convicted under this section as a misdemeanor, you could be sentenced to up to six months in County Jail. You would be required to serve at least 50% of that time in custody. If you are convicted under this section as an infraction, you would face a base fine of at least $250.
You can also suffer the consequences of stiff fines, a criminal protective order, and a stay-away order from the courts.
PC 272 is not a strike offense under the Three Strikes Law, and it is also not a charge requiring Sex Registration under PC 290. If you are convicted of PC 272, you could likely face a loss, suspension, or revocation of your professional license. You could also face immigration consequences if you are a non-US Citizen living in the United States.
IV. Common Defenses
- Statute of Limitations
- Insufficient Evidence
- Violation of Rights
- False Accusations
- Coerced Confessions
A common defense here is the defense of Entrapment. An example of this defense could be a minor, or police in a sting operation, putting the criminal intent to meet up that you did not intend in your mind. It is not enough to say that the minor was not a minor, and claim because police were involved makes you not guilty. If you intended to meet the minor, and that was always your intent, it doesn’t matter if you end up meeting the police or not.
Imagine a scenario where the minor is facilitating the meeting, you attempt to tell the minor that they should let their parents know, or leave a note, or something to avoid the parent’s worrying, but they do not follow your suggestions. In this case, there would be insufficient evidence to prove you guilty of the crime because you did all you could to notify the parents of the meeting.
For section PC 272(a)(1), mere negligence by the parent is enough to find you guilty, so showing your effort, showing how the minor may have misled you into what they were doing, can act as a defense to the crime by showing insufficient evidence to prove you guilty of the crime.
V. Call Today
A conviction under PC 272 can be hurtful to your future. Assuming it’s under PC 272(a)(1), you could be found guilty for simply being too busy to see what your minor is up to. Failing to act under that section makes you just as culpability, and you could be facing jail time simply by not being there. Further, any meetings with minors online can be devastating to your reputation based on what the charge implies you intended to do to the minor. Our PC 272 Ontario attorney has successfully defended numerous cases involving both sections under PC 272 dealing with Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor. You, or your loved one, cannot chance such a charge. The initial consultation is free and we are available to answer your questions 24/7. Call the Inland Empire Criminal Defense today at 909-939-7126! Located in Ontario, CA.