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Criminal charges

contributing to the delinquency of a minor

Contributing to the delinquency of a minor is a criminal offense that is generally governed by state laws, and located in a state’s penal or criminal code (statutes). The crime is usually defined as an adult knowingly persuading, inducing, enticing, encouraging, assisting, or facilitating a minor to engage in conduct that would constitute a violation of state or federal law, or of a municipal or local ordinance.

Some common examples of contributing to the delinquency of a minor include:

• purchasing or providing alcoholic beverages for minors;

• providing illegal drugs to minors;

• allowing minors to use illegal drugs or drink alcohol in your presence;

• providing a fake ID to enable a minor to enter a bar, casino, or other adult-only establishment;

• accompanying a minor while the minor commits a criminal act;

• asking, encouraging, or persuading a minor to commit a crime;

• asking or allowing a minor to assist you in committing a crime; and

• encouraging or assisting a minor in driving a vehicle without a license or permit.

In some states the criminal offense of contributing to the delinquency of a minor only applies to parents, guardians, or other adults who had custody and control of the minor at the time of the crime. But in other states any adult who contributes to the delinquency of a minor—as defined by the relevant state statute—may be subject to criminal prosecution.

In Texas, contributing to the delinquency of a minor is addressed under the Texas Penal Code. The offense is typically defined as an adult intentionally or knowingly causing a minor to engage in conduct that could lead them away from lawful behavior. This includes acts such as providing alcohol or illegal drugs to minors, facilitating a minor's engagement in criminal activities, or aiding a minor in obtaining false identification for the purpose of accessing age-restricted venues. The crime is not limited to parents or guardians; any adult who engages in such conduct with a minor can be charged. The specific statutes that cover these actions include 'Purchase of Alcohol for a Minor' (Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code Sec. 106.06), 'Sale to Minors' (Sec. 106.03), and 'Delivery of Controlled Substances to Minors' (Texas Health and Safety Code Sec. 481.122). Penalties for contributing to the delinquency of a minor in Texas can range from misdemeanors to felonies, depending on the nature of the offense and the adult's role in the minor's delinquent behavior.

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