"Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor"
Penal Code 272 PC

 “Contributing to the delinquency of a minor” is a commonly-charged crime in California.

This offense, described in California Penal Code 272(a), occurs when someone acts, or fails to act, and as a result a minor becomes:

  1. A dependent of the juvenile court system;
  2. A juvenile delinquent; or
  3. A habitual truant.1

California Penal Code 272(b), meanwhile, makes it a crime for adult “strangers” (people with no pre-existing relationship with the child) to contact a child under fourteen (14) years old in order to lure him/her away from his/her parents.2

Examples

Here are some examples of behavior that could lead to charges of “contributing to the delinquency of a minor” under Penal Code 272 PC:

  • A woman allows her 13-year-old niece to use a spare bedroom in her house to have sex with her 19-year-old boyfriend.
  • A man supplies cigarettes and alcohol to his 16-year-old son and his friends.
  • A member of a California street gang recruits middle-school students in a gang-dominated neighborhood to help with drug sales.
Cdm_youthhandcuffs
You can be charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor for encouraging a minor to commit a crime.

Penalties

A violation of Penal Code 272(a)—California's “contributing to the delinquency of a minor” law—is a misdemeanor in California law.3

The potential penalties include up to one (1) year in county jail, and/or a fine of up to two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500).4

Penal Code 272(b) luring a child away from his/her parents may be charged as either a misdemeanor or a California infraction.5

Charged as a misdemeanor, it carries a potential county jail sentence of up to six (6) months, and/or a fine of up to one thousand dollars ($1,000).6 If it is charged as an infraction, the maximum penalty is a two hundred fifty dollar ($250) fine.7

Legal defenses

If you find yourself facing charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, you and your criminal defense attorney may want to consider one or more of the following legal defenses:

  • You were falsely accused;
  • You did not know the minor was under 18 years old; and/or
  • You are a parent who was unable to control your child.

In order to help you better understand the California crime of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, our California criminal defense attorneys will address the following:

1. Legal Definition of Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor

2. Legal Definition of Luring or Transporting a Minor Under 14

3. California Penal Code 272 PC Penalties

3.1. PC 272(a) penalties
3.2. PC 272(b) penalties
3.3. Sex offender registration

4. Legal Defenses to Contributing to Delinquency Charges

5. Penal Code 272 and Related Offenses

5.1. HS 11361 furnishing marijuana to a minor
5.2. BPC 25658 furnishing alcohol to a minor
5.3. PC 288.2 sending harmful material to a minor

If, after reading this article, you would like more information, we invite you to contact us at Shouse Law Group.

1. Legal Definition of Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor

California Penal Code 272(a) defines “contributing to the delinquency of a minor” as:

  1. Committing an act, OR failing to perform a duty;
  2. In a way that causes or encourages a minor (that is, a person younger than 18) to become either a dependent of the juvenile court, a delinquent, or a habitual truant.8
Cdm_interview
Penal Code 272 PC charges may be filed against someone who causes a minor to become a habitual truant.

This is the legal definition of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Let's take a closer look at some of the terms in this legal definition.

Committing an act or failing to perform a duty

An important point about Penal Code 272(a) PC is that you can violate this law by EITHER:

  1. Committing a specific act; OR
  2. Failing to act when you have a duty to do so.9

For purposes of California's “contributing to the delinquency of a minor” law, parents and legal guardians of minors are considered to have a duty to exercise reasonable care, supervision, protection and control over the minor.10

Example: Martha is a cocaine user with a 12-year-old son, Nicholas.

Martha is aware that Nicholas sometimes finds her cocaine stash and uses it himself, but she does nothing about it. Nicholas eventually begins taking more and more of Martha's cocaine and selling it to other students at his school.

Martha could be charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor—not for any specific actions, but for her failure to fulfill her duty to exercise reasonable control over Nicholas.

(She may also face Penal Code 273a PC child endangerment charges for keeping cocaine in a place where Nicholas could access it.)

If you are charged under Penal Code 272(a) PC, you are only guilty if the prosecutor can prove that you acted (or failed to act) with either:

  1. “General criminal intent,” or
  2. “Criminal negligence.”11

“General criminal intent” means that you acted intentionally or on purpose. You do not need to have intended to break the law.12

Negligence
You are only guilty of contributing to the delinquency of a minor if you acted with criminal intent or criminal negligence.

Criminal negligence” means that:

  1. You acted in a reckless way that created a high risk of death or great bodily injury; and
  2. A reasonable person would have known that acting in that way would create such a risk.13

Example: Peter is hosting his 16-year-old niece, Sarah, for a visit. Sarah is bipolar and has a history of erratic and dangerous behavior.

One night Peter accidentally leaves his car keys where Sarah can access them. She takes his car out and drives recklessly, causing an accident that injures several people severely.

Peter is probably not guilty of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

He did not leave his keys out on purpose, so he did not act with general criminal intent. And a reasonable person would probably not have expected his actions to create a risk of death or great bodily injury.

A “minor”

A minor is any person under eighteen (18) years of age.14

In many cases, you will not be guilty of Penal Code 272 if you reasonably believed that the minor was over eighteen (18).15

Example: Raul meets Crystal at a club where people have to show IDs proving they are over 21 to enter. Crystal appears to be in her early twenties and claims to have been to this club many times before.

Raul buys Crystal several alcoholic drinks and a pack of cigarettes.

It turns out that Crystal is actually 16 and entered the club using a fake ID.

But Raul is probably not guilty of contributing to delinquency, because there was no reasonable way for him to know that Crystal was a minor.

Fakeid_danceclub
There may be no way to tell that a minor using a fake ID is actually a minor.

To become a juvenile court dependent

One basis for contributing to the delinquency of a minor charges is causing a minor to become a dependent of California's juvenile court system.16

Children can become dependents for any of the following reasons:

  • They are a victim of child abuse;
  • They are a victim of child neglect;
  • They suffer severe emotional damage as a result of mistreatment or neglect by a parent or guardian;
  • They are a victim of sexual abuse;
  • They are left without a means of support;
  • Their sibling is the victim of abuse or neglect; and/or
  • They are subjected to an act of cruelty by a member of their household.17

Example: Serena has two daughters, Natasha and Anastasia. Serena takes good care of Natasha but subjects Anastasia to severe physical and emotional abuse, and occasionally denies her food.

Eventually California's Child Protective Services removes both children from Serena's home due to the abuse of Anastasia.

Serena will be charged with child abuse for her treatment of Anastasia. But she may also be subject to “contributing to delinquency” charges with regard to Natasha, because her behavior led to Natasha becoming a juvenile dependent of the state as well.

To become a delinquent

Causing or encouraging a minor to become a juvenile delinquent is another way to violate California's “contributing to the delinquency of a minor” laws.

Cdm_penciljail
You commit the crime of contributing to the delinquency of a minor when you cause a minor to commit acts that earn him/her a conviction in juvenile court.

A minor who becomes a delinquent, for purposes of Penal Code 272 PC, is one who has been found by a court to have committed a crime.18

Typically, contributing to the delinquency of a minor charges will be filed after the minor has been found guilty in California's juvenile court process.

Example: Joshua is a 21-year-old gang member who oversees drug sales on a street corner. He recruits his 15-year-old cousin Billy to help him collect drug receipts after Billy's family suffers financial hardships.

Billy and Joshua are both eventually arrested in a police crackdown on drug transactions in their neighborhood. Billy pleads guilty to drug sales charges in juvenile court.

In addition to charges for California drug crimes, Joshua may also face charges for contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

To become a “habitual truant”

You can also be charged under California Penal Code 272 for causing or encouraging a minor to become a “habitual truant.”

This can mean that s/he:

  1. Has violated an age-based curfew;
  2. Habitually and persistently refuses to obey the reasonable orders of his/her parent or guardian; and/or
  3. Has four (4) or more unexcused absences from school in a school year.19

Example: Melanie is a 23-year-old college student. She begins a lesbian relationship with Amy, a 16-year-old high school student.

Amy hates school. Melanie encourages her to “just stop going” and regularly lets Amy hang out at her house on school days so her parents will think she's at school.

As time goes on, Melanie also starts encouraging Amy to repeatedly disobey her parents by sneaking out of the house at night—and helps her do so. The situation escalates to the point where Amy's parents feel they have to ask the police for help in controlling Amy.

Melanie may be charged with PC 272 for encouraging Amy to become a habitual truant and habitually disobey her parents.

2. Legal Definition of Luring or Transporting a Minor Under 14

Penal Code 272(b) PC covers the distinct offense of luring or transporting a minor under the age of 14.20

Cdm_child_20abduction
California Penal Code 272(b) makes it a crime to lure or transport a child under 14.

This section of the law makes it a crime to:

  1. Knowingly contact or communicate with a minor under the age of fourteen (14);
  2. Knowing (or being a position where you reasonably should know) that s/he is a minor under 14;
  3. With the intent to persuade, lure, or transport him/her away from his/her parents or a place where his/her parents know him/her to be;
  4. Without the express consent of his/her parent or legal guardian; and
  5. With the intent to avoid the consent of his/her parent or legal guardian.21

You are only guilty of the crime of persuading, luring or transporting a minor under 14 if you are an adult stranger to the minor. This means that you must:

  1. Be at least twenty-one (21) years old; and
  2. Have no substantial relationship with the child, be merely a casual acquaintance, or have a relationship with the child that was established or promoted for the primary purpose of victimization.22

Example: George is a 36-year-old man. He lives in the same neighborhood as Jamie, an 11-year-old boy.

George has exchanged a few friendly words with Jamie and his parents from time to time. George has asked Jamie's name, but Jamie's parents don't know George's name.

One rainy day George drives his car to the local middle school and parks outside. When he sees Jamie come out of the school, he calls to him and asks if he would like a ride.

George may be guilty of Penal Code 272, subsection (b). He probably qualifies as a stranger, and he is communicating with Jamie with the intent to take him away from a place where his parents expect him to be.

3. California Penal Code 272 PC Penalties

3.1. PC 272(a) penalties

Contributing to the delinquency of a minor, Penal Code 272(a) PC, is a misdemeanor in California law.23

The potential penalties include:

  • Misdemeanor (summary) probation for a period of up to five (5) years;
  • Up to one (1) year in county jail; and/or
  • A fine of up to two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500).24 
    Cdm_criminalfine
    A contributing to the delinquency of a minor conviction often leads to criminal fines.
3.2. PC 272(b) penalties

Luring or transporting a minor under 14 can be charged as either a misdemeanor OR an infraction.25

If it is charged as a misdemeanor, the potential penalties are:

  • Misdemeanor (summary) probation;
  • Up to six (6) months in county jail; and/or
  • A fine of up to one thousand dollars ($1,000).26

But if it is charged as an infraction, Penal Code 272(b) carries only a potential fine of up to two hundred fifty dollars ($250).27

3.3. Sex offender registration

If you are convicted of contributing to the delinquency of a minor or luring a minor under 14—AND it is determined that your offense involved “lewd or lascivious conduct”—then you will be subject to California's sex offender registration requirement.28

In other words, you are likely to face this requirement if you are convicted under Penal Code 272 for behavior that had sexual gratification or arousal as its aim.

If you are subject to California's sex offender registration requirement because of a California Penal Code 272 conviction, then you will be required to register your address with the state every year, and every time you move.

Failure to do so will result in additional misdemeanor charges for failure to register as a sex offender.29

4. Legal Defenses to Contributing to Delinquency Charges

An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you identify one or more legal defenses that you can use to fight charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Cdm_joint
A minor caught with marijuana might accuse an adult of giving it to him/her--and thus of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

These might include:

You were falsely accused

According to San Jose criminal defense attorney Reve Bautista30:

“It's all too common for people to be wrongly accused of improprieties involving minors. Many children know that they can falsely accuse an individual of a crime in order to ‘get back at them' for something or get attention. Adults know how seriously crimes against children are taken by law enforcement—and are apt to use these kinds of accusations to destroy someone else's reputation.”

If you are falsely accused of contributing to the delinquency of a minor—or luring a child under 14—then your attorney can undertake the necessary investigations and gather the necessary evidence to ensure that the truth comes out.

You did not know the person was a minor under 18

Many Penal Code 272(a) PC cases involve teenagers who may looked—and acted—much older than they actually were. If you reasonably believed the minor was an adult, you may not be guilty of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.31

This defense is most likely to be effective if you are accused of behavior that was only illegal because the “victim” was a minor (such as furnishing him/her with alcohol or cigarettes) rather than behavior that would have been illegal anyway (such as involving him/her in criminal activity).32

You are a parent who was unable to control your child

The way Penal Code 272 PC is written theoretically allows prosecutors to charge the parents of children who end up truant from school, or who are found guilty of a crime in a juvenile adjudication hearing.

Prosecutors can argue that, by failing to provide him/her with adequate care and supervision, you were criminally negligent and so are guilty of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Ocm_juveniledefendant
Contributing to the delinquency of a minor charges are often filed against parents who were unable to control their children.

But many parents who behave reasonably are still unable to control their children. Your child may have a mental or behavioral disorder, or may be subject to bad influences from school or a noncustodial parent that you could not control.

If this is the case, you should not be guilty of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

5. Penal Code 272 and Related Offenses

There are several related offenses that may be charged along with (or instead of) contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

5.1. HS 11361 furnishing marijuana to a minor

California law, Health & Safety Code 11361 HS, makes it a separate crime to sell or give marijuana to a minor.

This crime may be charged if you:

  • Sell marijuana to a minor of any age;
  • Give or offer marijuana for free to a minor under 14;
  • Induce a minor of any age to use marijuana; or
  • Use a minor of any age to transport, sell, or give away marijuana.33

It is not uncommon for defendants to face simultaneous charges for furnishing marijuana to a minor and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

HS 11361 is a California felony and carries a potential state prison sentence of three (3) to seven (7) years.34

5.2. BPC 25658 furnishing alcohol to a minor
Cdm_beer
Furnishing alcohol to a minor is a related offense to contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

It is a crime to furnish alcohol to a minor under Business & Professions Code 25658.35

This includes both giving and selling alcohol to minors—and also applies to giving or selling alcohol to adults who are under 21.36

Furnishing alcohol to a minor is a misdemeanor. However, unless the minor causes a great bodily injury or death after consuming the alcohol, the only penalties are fines and community service—no jail time.37

So if you are charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor for giving alcohol to a minor, it may be wise to negotiate a plea bargain to BPC 25658.

5.3. PC 288.2 sending harmful material to a minor

Penal Code 288.2 sending harmful material to a minor is the crime of sending “obscene” matter to anyone under 18—with the intent to sexually arouse yourself or him/her, and with the ultimate goal of engaging in sexual activity with him/her.38

Harmful material sent to a minor is a more serious offense than contributing to the delinquency of a minor. It is a wobbler, which means it may be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, and it can carry a state prison sentence.39

For this reason, a contributing-to-delinquency conviction can be a preferable alternative to a PC 288.2 conviction. If you are charged with sending harmful material to a minor, you may want to pursue the possibility of a plea bargain to PC 272.

Call us for help…

Help-support-call-us

For questions about the crime of Penal Code 272 PC contributing to the delinquency of a minor/luring or transporting a minor under 14, or to discuss your case confidentially with one of our California criminal defense attorneys, do not hesitate to contact us at Shouse Law Group.

We have local criminal law offices in and around Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, San Jose, Oakland, the San Francisco Bay area, and several nearby cities.

For more information on the Nevada crime of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, please see our page on the Nevada crime of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

You may also find helpful information in our related articles on The Juvenile Court System in California; The Laws on California Street Gangs; California Drug Sales/Transportation Health & Safety Code 11352 HS; Legal Definition of a Misdemeanor in California Law; Legal Definition of a California Infraction; Common Legal Defenses to California Crimes; Penal Code 273a PC Child Endangerment Charges; California's Legal Definition of “Criminal Negligence”; Reckless Driving as a Plea Bargain in California DUI Cases; Having a Fake ID Penal Code 470d PC; California Child Abuse Laws Penal Code 273d PC; California's Juvenile Court Process; California Drug Crimes; Misdemeanor (Summary) Probation in California; California's Sex Offender Registration Requirement; Failure to Register as a Sex Offender; Juvenile Adjudication Hearings in California; Selling or Giving Marijuana to Minors Health & Safety Code 11361 HS; Legal Definition of a California Felony; Furnishing Alcohol to a Minor Under Business & Professions Code 25658; and Penal Code 288.2 Sending Harmful Material to a Minor.

Legal References:


1 Penal Code 272(a) PC – Contributing to delinquency of persons under 18 years; persuading, luring, or transporting minors 12 years of age or younger. (“(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.”)

2 Penal Code 272(b) PC – Contributing to delinquency of persons under 18 years; persuading, luring, or transporting minors 12 years of age or younger. (“(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, is guilty of an infraction or a misdemeanor, subject to subdivision (d) of Section 17. (2) This subdivision shall not apply in an emergency situation. (3) As used in this subdivision, the following terms are defined to mean: (A) “Emergency situation” means a situation where the minor is threatened with imminent bodily harm, emotional harm, or psychological harm. (B) “Contact” or “communication” includes, but is not limited to, the use of a telephone or the Internet, as defined in Section 17538 of the Business and Professions Code. (C) “Stranger” means a person of casual acquaintance with whom no substantial relationship exists, or an individual with whom a relationship has been established or promoted for the primary purpose of victimization, as defined in subdivision (e) of Section 6600 of the Welfare and Institutions Code. (D) “Express consent” means oral or written permission that is positive, direct, and unequivocal, requiring no inference or implication to supply its meaning. (4) This section shall not be interpreted to criminalize acts of persons contacting minors within the scope and course of their employment, or status as a volunteer of a recognized civic or charitable organization. (5) This section is intended to protect minors and to help parents and legal guardians exercise reasonable care, supervision, protection, and control over minor children.”)

3 Penal Code 272(a) PC – Contributing to delinquency of persons under 18 years; persuading, luring, or transporting minors 12 years of age or younger, endnote 1, above.

4 Same.

5 Penal Code 272(b) PC – Contributing to delinquency of persons under 18 years; persuading, luring, or transporting minors 12 years of age or younger, endnote 2, above.

6 Penal Code 19 PC – Punishment for misdemeanor [including PC 272(b)]; punishment not otherwise prescribed. (“Except in cases where a different punishment is prescribed by any law of this state, every offense declared to be a misdemeanor is punishable by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding six months, or by fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both.”)

7 Penal Code 19.8 PC – Infractions [including PC 272(b)]; classification of offenses; fines; effect of conviction. (“ . . . (b) Except in cases where a different punishment is prescribed, every offense declared to be an infraction is punishable by a fine not exceeding two hundred fifty dollars ($250).”)

8 Penal Code 272(a) PC – Contributing to delinquency of persons under 18 years; persuading, luring, or transporting minors 12 years of age or younger, endnote 1, above.

See also Welfare & Institutions Code 300 – Children subject to jurisdiction; legislative intent and declarations; “guardian” defined. (“Any child who comes within any of the following descriptions is within the jurisdiction of the juvenile court which may adjudge that person to be a dependent child of the court: . . .”)

See also Welfare & Institutions Code 601 – Minors habitually disobedient or truant; contact with minor in truancy program; notice to appear. (“(a) Any person under 18 years of age who persistently or habitually refuses to obey the reasonable and proper orders or directions of his or her parents, guardian, or custodian, or who is beyond the control of that person, or who is under the age of 18 years when he or she violated any ordinance of any city or county of this state establishing a curfew based solely on age is within the jurisdiction of the juvenile court which may adjudge the minor to be a ward of the court. (b) If a minor has four or more truancies within one school year as defined in Section 48260 of the Education Code or a school attendance review board or probation officer determines that the available public and private services are insufficient or inappropriate to correct the habitual truancy of the minor, or to correct the minor's persistent or habitual refusal to obey the reasonable and proper orders or directions of school authorities, or if the minor fails to respond to directives of a school attendance review board or probation officer or to services provided, the minor is then within the jurisdiction of the juvenile court which may adjudge the minor to be a ward of the court. However, it is the intent of the Legislature that a minor who is described in this subdivision, adjudged a ward of the court pursuant solely to this subdivision, or found in contempt of court for failure to comply with a court order pursuant to this subdivision, shall not be held in a secure facility and shall not be removed from the custody of the parent or guardian except for the purposes of school attendance.”)

See also Welfare & Institutions Code 602 – Minors violating laws defining crime; ward of court. (“(a) Except as provided in subdivision (b), any person who is under 18 years of age when he or she violates any law of this state or of the United States or any ordinance of any city or county of this state defining crime other than an ordinance establishing a curfew based solely on age, is within the jurisdiction of the juvenile court, which may adjudge such person to be a ward of the court.”)

9 Judicial Council of California Criminal Jury Instruction (“CALCRIM”) 2980 – Contributing to Delinquency of Minor (Pen. Code, § 272). (“The defendant is charged [in Count ] with contributing to the delinquency of a minor [in violation of Penal Code section 272]. To prove that the defendant is guilty of this crime, the People must prove that: <Alternative A—caused or encouraged minor to come under jurisdiction of juvenile court> [1 The defendant (committed an act/ [or] failed to perform a duty); AND 2 In (doing so/ [or] failing to do so)[,] the defendant (caused[,]/ [or] encouraged[,]/ [or] contributed to (causing/ [or] encouraging)) a minor to become [or continue to be] a (dependent /delinquent) child of the juvenile court.] <Alternative B—induced minor to come or remain under jurisdiction of juvenile court or not to follow court order> [The defendant by (act[,]/ [or] failure to act[,]/ [or] threat[,]/ [or] command[,]/ [or] persuasion) induced or tried to induce a (minor/delinquent child of the juvenile court/dependent child of the juvenile court) to do either of the following: 1 Fail or refuse to conform to a lawful order of the juvenile court; OR 2 (Do any act/Follow any course of conduct/Live in a way) that would cause or obviously tend to cause that person to become or remain a (dependent /delinquent) child of the juvenile court.] In order to commit this crime, a person must act with [either] (general criminal intent/ [or] criminal negligence). [In order to act with general criminal intent, a person must not only commit the prohibited act [or fail to do the required act], but must do so intentionally or on purpose. However, it is not required that he or she intend to break the law.] [Criminal negligence involves more than ordinary carelessness, inattention, or mistake in judgment. A person acts with criminal negligence when: 1 He or she acts in a reckless way that creates a high risk of death or great bodily injury; AND 2 A reasonable person would have known that acting in that way would create such a risk. In other words, a person acts with criminal negligence when the way he or she acts is so different from the way an ordinarily careful person would act in the same situation that his or her act amounts to disregard for human life or indifference to the consequences of that act.]”)

10 Penal Code 272(a) PC – Contributing to delinquency of persons under 18 years; persuading, luring, or transporting minors 12 years of age or younger, endnote 1, above.

11 CALCRIM 2980 – Contributing to Delinquency of Minor (Pen. Code, § 272), endnote 9, above.

12 Same.

13 Same.

14 CALCRIM 2980 – Contributing to Delinquency of Minor (Pen. Code, § 272). (“A minor is a person under 18 years old. [Under the law, a person becomes one year older as soon as the first minute of his or her birthday has begun.]”)

15 People v. Atchison (1978) 22 Cal.3d 181, 182-83. (“The judge instructed the jury on the contributing-to-delinquency charge as follows (italics added): ‘You are instructed that in a prosecution for contributing to the delinquency of a minor by committing an act causing, tending to cause, or encouraging a person under the age of 18 years to lead an idle, dissolute, lewd, or immoral life, if defendant commits such an act, it is immaterial whether or not he knew the age of the minor.' That instruction was erroneous. (See People v. Hernandez (1964) 61 Cal.2d 529 [39 Cal.Rptr. 361, 393 P.2d 673, 8 A.L.R.3d 1092].) Since the jury may have been misled as to its application to both the Penal Code sections (§ 272 and § 647a) the judgment cannot stand. Because some courts have questioned the scope of the Hernandez ruling, we disapprove the statement in People v. Reznick (1946) 75 Cal.App.2d 832, 837 [171 P.2d 952], that ‘if appellant committed the act it would be immaterial whether or not he knew the age of the minor.'”)

16 Penal Code 272(a) PC – Contributing to delinquency of persons under 18 years; persuading, luring, or transporting minors 12 years of age or younger, endnote 1, above.

See also Welfare & Institutions Code 300 – Children subject to jurisdiction; legislative intent and declarations; “guardian” defined, endnote 8, above.

17 CALCRIM 2980 – Contributing to Delinquency of Minor (Pen. Code, § 272). (“<A. Dependent Child Defined: Physical Abuse> [A minor may become a dependent child if his or her parent [or guardian] has intentionally inflicted serious physical harm on him or her, or there is a substantial risk that the parent [or guardian] will do so.] [The manner in which a less serious injury, if any, was inflicted, any history of repeated infliction of injuries on the child or the child's siblings, or a combination of these and other actions by the parent or guardian may be relevant to whether the child is at substantial risk of serious physical harm.] [Serious physical harm does not include reasonable and age-appropriate spanking of the buttocks when there is no evidence of serious physical injury.] <B. Dependent Child Defined: Neglect> [A minor may become a dependent child if he or she has suffered, or is at substantial risk of suffering, serious physical harm or illness as a result of [one of the following]: [1.] [The failure or inability of his or her parent [or guardian] to adequately supervise or protect the child(;/.)] [OR] [(1/2).] [The willful or negligent failure of his or her parent [or guardian] to provide the child with adequate food, clothing, shelter, or medical treatment(;/.)] [OR] [(1/2/3).] [The inability of his or her parent [or guardian] to provide regular care for the child due to the parent's [or guardian's] (mental illness[,]/ [or] developmental disability[,]/ [or] substance abuse).] [A minor cannot become a dependent child based only on the fact that there is a lack of emergency shelter for the minor's family.] [Deference must be given to a parent's [or guardian's] decision to give medical treatment, nontreatment, or spiritual treatment through prayer alone in accordance with the tenets and practices of a recognized church or religious denomination, by one of its accredited practitioners. A minor cannot be found to be a dependent child unless such a finding is necessary to protect the minor from suffering serious physical harm or illness. The following factors may bear on such a determination: 1 The nature of the treatment proposed by the parent [or guardian]; 2 The risks, if any, to the child posed by the course of treatment or nontreatment proposed by the parent [or guardian]; 3 The risks, if any, of any alternative course of treatment being proposed for the child by someone other than the parent [or guardian]; AND 4 The likely success of the course of treatment or nontreatment proposed by the parent [or guardian].] [A minor may be a dependent child only as long as necessary to protect him or her from the risk of suffering serious physical harm or illness.]] <C. Dependent Child Defined: Serious Emotional Damage> [A minor may become a dependent child if (his or her parent's [or guardian's] conduct[,]/ [or] the lack of a parent [or guardian] who is capable of providing appropriate care[,]) has caused the minor to suffer serious emotional damage or to face a substantial risk of suffering serious emotional damage. Serious emotional damage may be shown by severe anxiety, depression, withdrawal, or unruly, aggressive behavior toward himself, herself, or others. [However, a minor cannot become a dependent child on this basis if the parent [or guardian] willfully fails to provide mental health treatment to the minor based on a sincerely held religious belief and a less-intrusive intervention is available.]] <D. Dependent Child Defined: Sexually Abused> [A minor may become a dependent child if he or she: 1 Has been sexually abused; 2 Faces a substantial risk of being sexually abused by (his or her (parent/ [or] guardian)/ [or] a member of his or her household); OR 3 Has a parent [or guardian] who has failed to adequately protect him or her from sexual abuse when the parent [or guardian] knew or reasonably should have known that the child was in danger of sexual abuse.] <E. Dependent Child Defined: Severe Physical Abuse Under Age Five> [A minor may become a dependent child if he or she is under five years old and has suffered severe physical abuse by a parent or by any person known by the parent if the parent knew or reasonably should have known that the person was physically abusing the child. As used here, the term severe physical abuse means any of the following: 1 A single act of abuse that causes physical trauma of sufficient severity that, if left untreated, would cause permanent physical disfigurement, permanent physical disability, or death; 2 A single act of sexual abuse that causes significant bleeding, deep bruising, or significant external or internal swelling; 3 More than one act of physical abuse, each of which causes bleeding, deep bruising, significant external or internal swelling, bone fracture, or unconsciousness; OR 4 The willful, prolonged failure to provide adequate food.] <F. Dependent Child Defined: Parent or Guardian Caused Death> [A minor may become a dependent child if his or her parent [or guardian] caused the death of another child through abuse or neglect.] <G. Dependent Child Defined: Left Without Support> [A minor may become a dependent child if he or she has been left without any provision for support.] [A minor may become a dependent child if he or she has been voluntarily surrendered according to law and has not been reclaimed within the 14-day period following that surrender.] [A minor may become a dependent child if his or her parent [or guardian] has been incarcerated or institutionalized and cannot arrange for the child's care.] [A minor may become a dependent child if his or her relative or other adult custodian with whom he or she resides or has been left is unwilling or unable to provide care or support for the child, the parent's whereabouts are unknown, and reasonable efforts to locate the parent have been unsuccessful.] <H. Dependent Child Defined: Freed for Adoption> [A minor may become a dependent child if he or she has been freed for adoption by one or both parents for 12 months by either relinquishment or termination of parental rights, or an adoption petition has not been granted.] <I. Dependent Child Defined: Acts of Cruelty> [A minor may become a dependent child if he or she has been subjected to an act or acts of cruelty by (his or her (parent/ [or] guardian)/ [or] a member of his or her household), or the parent [or guardian] has failed to adequately protect the child from an act or acts of cruelty when the parent [or guardian] knew or reasonably should have known that the child was in danger of being subjected to an act or acts of cruelty. <J. Dependent Child Defined: Sibling Abused> [A minor may become a dependent child if his or her sibling has been abused or neglected, as explained above, and there is a substantial risk that the child will be abused or neglected in the same way. The circumstances surrounding the abuse or neglect of the sibling, the mental condition of the parent [or guardian], and other factors may bear on whether there is a substantial risk to the child.]”)

18 CALCRIM 2980 – Contributing to Delinquency of Minor (Pen. Code, § 272). (“<Delinquent Child Defined> [A delinquent child is a minor whom a court has found to have committed a crime.]”)

19 CALCRIM 2980 – Contributing to Delinquency of Minor (Pen. Code, § 272). (“[A delinquent child is [also] a minor who has violated a curfew based solely on age.] [A delinquent child is [also] a minor who persistently or habitually refuses to obey the reasonable and proper orders or directions of his or her parent [or guardian or custodian], or who is beyond the control of that person.]”)

See also Welfare & Institutions Code 601 – Minors habitually disobedient or truant; contact with minor in truancy program; notice to appear, endnote 8, above.

20 Penal Code 272(b) PC – Contributing to delinquency of persons under 18 years; persuading, luring, or transporting minors 12 years of age or younger, endnote 2, above.

21 CALCRIM 2982 – Persuading, Luring, or Transporting a Minor Under 14 Years of Age (Pen. Code, § 272(b)(1)). (“The defendant is charged [in Count ] with persuading, luring, or transporting a minor who is under 14 years of age [in violation of Penal Code section 272(b)(1)]. To prove that the defendant is guilty of this crime, the People must prove that: 1 The defendant contacted or communicated with <insert name of minor>; 2 When the defendant did so, (he/she) was an adult stranger to the minor; 3 <insert name of minor> was under 14 years of age at the time; 4 The defendant knew that (he/she) was contacting or communicating with<insert name of minor>; 5 The defendant knew or reasonably should have known that <insert name of minor> was under 14 years of age at the time; 6 The defendant contacted or communicated with <insert name of minor>with the intent to persuade, lure, or transport[, or attempt to persuade, lure, or transport,] (him/her), for any purpose, away from ( 's <insert name of minor> home/ [or] any location known by 's <insert name of minor> parent[, legal guardian, or custodian] as a place where the child is located); 7 The defendant did not have the express consent of 's <insert name of minor> parent [or legal guardian]; [AND] 8 When the defendant acted, (he/she) intended to avoid the consent of 's<insert name of minor> parent [or legal guardian](;/.) <Give element 9 when instructing on an emergency situation.> [AND 9 The defendant was not acting in an emergency situation.]”)

22 CALCRIM 2982 – Persuading, Luring, or Transporting a Minor Under 14 Years of Age (Pen. Code, § 272(b)(1)). (“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.”)

23 Penal Code 272(a) PC – Contributing to delinquency of persons under 18 years; persuading, luring, or transporting minors 12 years of age or younger, endnote 1, above.

24 Same.

25 Penal Code 272(b) PC – Contributing to delinquency of persons under 18 years; persuading, luring, or transporting minors 12 years of age or younger, endnote 2, above.

26 Penal Code 19 PC – Punishment for misdemeanor [including PC 272(b)]; punishment not otherwise prescribed, endnote 6, above.

27 Penal Code 19.8 PC – Infractions [including PC 272(b)]; classification of offenses; fines; effect of conviction, endnote 7, above.

28 Penal Code 290 PC – Sex offender registration act. (“(b) Every person described in subdivision (c), for the rest of his or her life while residing in California, or while attending school or working in California, as described in Sections 290.002 and 290.01, shall be required to register with the chief of police of the city in which he or she is residing, or the sheriff of the county if he or she is residing in an unincorporated area or city that has no police department, and, additionally, with the chief of police of a campus of the University of California, the California State University, or community college if he or she is residing upon the campus or in any of its facilities, within five working days of coming into, or changing his or her residence within, any city, county, or city and county, or campus in which he or she temporarily resides, and shall be required to register thereafter in accordance with the Act. (c) The following persons shall be required to register: Any person who, since July 1, 1944, has been or is hereafter convicted in any court in this state or in any federal or military court of . . . any offense involving lewd or lascivious conduct under Section 272 [contributing to the delinquency of a minor] . . . .”)

29 Penal Code 290.018 PC – Penalties for violation. (“(a) Any person who is required to register under the Act based on a misdemeanor conviction [such as for contributing to the delinquency of a minor] or juvenile adjudication who willfully violates any requirement of the act is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year.”)

30 San Jose criminal defense attorney Reve Bautista spent over 20 years as a prosecutor with the Contra Costa District Attorney and the San Francisco District Attorney. As a result, she is well-known at every courthouse in the San Francisco Bay Area. Now, she devotes her energy to helping protect the rights of criminal defendants in cases ranging from contributing to the delinquency of a minor to drug crimes to violent felonies.

31 People v. Atchison, endnote 15, above.

32 See People v. Paz (2000) 80 Cal.App.4th 293, 300. (“A lewd act, as defined by section 288, subdivision (a) committed with any minor under age 18 is not “entirely innocent” conduct; it would violate at least section 647.6 [annoying or molesting a child under 18] FN14 or section 272 [contributing to the delinquency of a child under 18], both misdemeanors. Although an instruction on the defense of reasonable mistaken belief that the victim was 18 or over has been sanctioned in cases involving charges under section 647.6 orsection 272 ( People v. Atchison (1978) 22Cal.3d 181, 183, 148 Cal.Rptr. 881, 583 P.2d735), the facts established at the trial in this case would, at most, support a reasonable belief by appellant that H.G. was age 16. Appellant therefore is not in a position akin to that of the “morally innocent” defendants in Hernandez or Vogel—the defendant who believed he was free to marry following a divorce ( Vogel ) or the defendant who thought he was having consensual intercourse with another adult (Hernandez ).”)

33 Health & Safety Code 11361 HS – Adults employing or selling to minors; minors under or over 14 years of age; punishments [may be charged along with Penal Code 272 PC]. (“(a) Every person 18 years of age or over who hires, employs, or uses a minor in unlawfully transporting, carrying, selling, giving away, preparing for sale, or peddling any marijuana, who unlawfully sells, or offers to sell, any marijuana to a minor, or who furnishes, administers, or gives, or offers to furnish, administer, or give any marijuana to a minor under 14 years of age, or who induces a minor to use marijuana in violation of law shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for a period of three, five, or seven years. (b) Every person 18 years of age or over who furnishes, administers, or gives, or offers to furnish, administer, or give, any marijuana to a minor 14 years of age or older shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for a period of three, four, or five years.”)

34 Same.

35 Business & Professions Code 25658 BPC – Providing alcoholic beverages to persons under 21 years of age; prohibition; criminal punishment; law enforcement decoys; additional punishment [may be charged along with or instead of contributing to the delinquency of a minor]. (“(a) Except as otherwise provided in subdivision (c), every person who sells, furnishes, gives, or causes to be sold, furnished, or given away any alcoholic beverage to any person under 21 years of age is guilty of a misdemeanor. (b) Except as provided in Section 25667 or 25668, any person under 21 years of age who purchases any alcoholic beverage, or any person under 21 years of age who consumes any alcoholic beverage in any on-sale premises, is guilty of a misdemeanor. (c) Any person who violates subdivision (a) by purchasing any alcoholic beverage for, or furnishing, giving, or giving away any alcoholic beverage to, a person under 21 years of age, and the person under 21 years of age thereafter consumes the alcohol and thereby proximately causes great bodily injury or death to himself, herself, or any other person, is guilty of a misdemeanor. (d) Any on-sale licensee who knowingly permits a person under 21 years of age to consume any alcoholic beverage in the on-sale premises, whether or not the licensee has knowledge that the person is under 21 years of age, is guilty of a misdemeanor. (e)(1) Except as otherwise provided in paragraph (2) or (3), or Section 25667 or 25668, any person who violates this section shall be punished by a fine of two hundred fifty dollars ($250), no part of which shall be suspended, or the person shall be required to perform not less than 24 hours or more than 32 hours of community service during hours when the person is not employed and is not attending school, or a combination of a fine and community service as determined by the court. A second or subsequent violation of subdivision (b), where prosecution of the previous violation was not barred pursuant to Section 25667 or 25668, shall be punished by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars ($500), or the person shall be required to perform not less than 36 hours or more than 48 hours of community service during hours when the person is not employed and is not attending school, or a combination of a fine and community service as determined by the court. It is the intent of the Legislature that the community service requirements prescribed in this section require service at an alcohol or drug treatment program or facility or at a county coroner's office, if available, in the area where the violation occurred or where the person resides. (2) Except as provided in paragraph (3), any person who violates subdivision (a) by furnishing an alcoholic beverage, or causing an alcoholic beverage to be furnished, to a minor shall be punished by a fine of one thousand dollars ($1,000), no part of which shall be suspended, and the person shall be required to perform not less than 24 hours of community service during hours when the person is not employed and is not attending school. (3) Any person who violates subdivision (c) shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail for a minimum term of six months not to exceed one year, by a fine of one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both imprisonment and fine.”)

36 Same.

37 Same.

38 Penal Code 288.2 PC – Harmful matter sent to minor; knowledge; intent; punishment [may be bargained down to contributing to the delinquency of a minor]. (“(a)(1) Every person who knows, should have known, or believes that another person is a minor, and who knowingly distributes, sends, causes to be sent, exhibits, or offers to distribute or exhibit by any means, including by physical delivery, telephone, electronic communication, or in person, any harmful matter that depicts a minor or minors engaging in sexual conduct, to the other person with the intent of arousing, appealing to, or gratifying the lust or passions or sexual desires of that person or of the minor, and with the intent or for the purposes of engaging in sexual intercourse, sodomy, or oral copulation with the other person, or with the intent that either person touch an intimate body part of the other, is guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or is guilty of a felony, punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or five years. (2) If the matter used by the person is harmful matter but does not include a depiction or depictions of a minor or minors engaged in sexual conduct, the offense is punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by imprisonment in the state prison for 16 months, or two or three years.”)

39 Same.

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