Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor – 18-6-701

“Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor” sounds like a vague or ambiguous term and it is true that it is difficult to know what this law prohibits just through the title.

With that said, the behavior or conduct that this law, or statute, prohibits is defined in just one sentence:

“Any person who induces, aids, or encourages a child to violate any federal or state law, municipal or county ordinance, or court order commits contributing to the delinquency of a minor.”

So, the next time you are at the gas station and a young person approaches, asking that you purchase something for her, be aware that doing so would qualify as contributing to the delinquency of a minor. It is important to know that “child” as it pertains to this law includes anyone under the age of 18 years old.

When facing this serious charge, it is imperative that you have a Colorado defense attorney who is familiar with the way these charges are prosecuted and who understands the different defenses that may or may not be applicable.

According to a famous case on this charge, People v. Miller, 830 P.2d 1092 (Colo. App. 1991), the Colorado Court of Appeals determined that an adult may be charged with violating this statute regardless of whether the minor was actually charged with or convicted of a crime or whether the minor was old enough to be charged with or convicted of a crime.

Understanding and being familiar with this case is an important part of defending against this charge.

Further, the required mens rea, or mind state, needed for this offense is “knowingly.” A person acts knowingly if he is aware that his conduct will result in certain consequences. In other words, a person acts knowingly if he is aware that it is practically certain that his conduct will cause a specific result. With that aid, that mens rea does not apply to the defendant’s knowledge of the age of the minor. This means that an individual might be convicted of this offense even if they did not ‘know’ the age of the minor involved.

A conviction for Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor would be a class 4 felony. As such, this offense could be punishable by up to six (6) years of imprisonment and/or a $500,000 fine.

If facing this charge, you owe it to yourself to find and work with criminal defense attorneys who are experienced and knowledgeable. Contact the Law Office of Jacob E. Martinez today in order to set up a free consultation.