"Contributing to the delinquency of a minor" in Nevada
(NRS 201.090, NRS 201.100, NRS 201.110)

The Nevada law for contributing to the delinquency of a minor prohibits causing a child to either:

  • beg in public, be destitute, be homeless, or live in a brothel or other unfit home;
  • have no adult supervision, be in the company of criminals, or in a saloon;
  • take drugs or alcohol or otherwise break the law; or
  • miss school habitually or lead an idle or immoral life

An NRS 201.110 violation is a misdemeanor in Nevada with maximum punishments of:

  • 6 months in jail, and/or
  • $1,000

It may be possible to have contributory delinquency charges dismissed or reduced as part of a plea bargain. Typical defense arguments include:

  • The defendant was the victim of false accusations,
  • There was no delinquency, or
  • The defendant's behavior was legally protected

In this article, our Las Vegas Nevada criminal defense attorneys discuss:

boy in hoodie behind chain-link fence
People charged with child neglect or endangerment may be able to get the charge reduced to contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

1. Legal definition of contributing to the delinquency of a minor in Nevada

It is a Nevada crime for a person to contribute to a child's delinquent behavior or neglect. Specifically, a person faces contributory delinquency charges for causing a child (under 18-years old) to be in any of the following 14 situations: 

  1. begging on the street or other public place;
  2. having no parent or guardian exercising proper parental control;
  3. being destitute or without life necessities;
  4. living in a home that is unfit for a child;
  5. living in a brothel;
  6. being homeless;
  7. keeping the company of criminals or vagrants;
  8. visiting a saloon;
  9. consuming alcohol or drugs;
  10. refusing to obey the child's parents' or guardians' reasonable orders;
  11. being habitually truant from school;
  12. leading an idle, dissolute, lewd, or immoral life;
  13. conducting him/herself in an indecent or immoral way; or
  14. breaking the law1

Note that contributing to the delinquency of a minor is different than the Nevada crime of child abuse, which typically involves causing physical, sexual or mental harm.2

Also note that it is not considered contributory neglect when a person leaves a child 30 days or younger with either a(n):

  • hospital, an obstetric center, or an independent center for emergency medical care licensed pursuant to chapter 449 of NRS;
  • public fire-fighting agency, including, without limitation, a volunteer fire department;
  • law enforcement agency (such as a police or sheriff's department);
  • ambulance service that holds a permit issued pursuant to the provisions of chapter 450B of NRS; or
  • agency which provides child welfare services.3

2. Penalties for contributing to the delinquency of a minor in Nevada

As a misdemeanor, violating NRS 201.110 carries a sentence of:

  • up to six (6) months in jail, and/or
  • up to $1,000 in fines4
misdemeanor sign
Contributory delinquency is a misdemeanor in Nevada.

It is rare for judges to order jail for a first-time misdemeanor offense. But since these situations involve child welfare, judges may be less amenable to letting defendants off with only a fine. Therefore, defendants are encouraged to retain legal counsel in an effort to fight the charges and negotiate for the best possible resolution.

Since contributing to the delinquency of a minor is only a misdemeanor, it may serve as a favorable offense to plea bargain down to: For instance, violating Nevada child endangerment laws carries harsher penalties that contributory delinquency, and prosecutors may be willing to reduce child endangerment to contributory delinquency in some cases.

3. Fighting charges for contributing to the delinquency of a minor in Nevada

The best way to fight contributory delinquency charges turns on the facts of the case. But some common defenses include:

  1. The defendant was falsely accused
  2. There was no delinquency
  3. The defendant's behavior was legally protected

3.1. The defendant was falsely accused

Sometimes the police arrest the wrong person by accident. Or sometimes people -- especially angry children or exes -- deliberately accuse an innocent person out of revenge.

girl behind jail fence
False accusations is a defense against any criminal charge.

A criminal defense attorney would investigate the situation and compile evidence -- such as past communications and recordings -- to show that accuser may have had a reason to lie and that the defendant did nothing wrong. If the D.A. fails to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, the charge should be dropped.

3.2. There was no delinquency

"Bad" or "lazy" parenting does not necessarily equate with contributing to a child's delinquency. For instance: Feeding a child processed or junk food is not contributing to them being without life's necessities; or letting a child watch TV all day is not contributing to them leaving an immoral life.

Just because a child has undesirable habits does not make him/her delinquent. If police may have hastily arrested someone on NRS 201.110 charges, the criminal defense attorney would gather evidence to show that nothing the defendant did rose to the level of contributory delinquency.

3.3. The defendant's behavior was legally protected

Police may be over-zealous in arresting adults who appear to be contributing to child delinquency but are really just exercising their rights to inflict reasonable punishment. For example, it is perfectly legal in Nevada for parents and guardians to punish children by sending them to their room, not letting them participate in certain activities, or depriving them of one dinner.

In these situations, a criminal defense attorney would argue that nothing in NRS 201.110's text applies to the defendant's actions. The prosecutor may agree then to drop the charges.

4. Sealing records for contributing to the delinquency in Nevada

Magnifying glass over paper with the text criminal record.
A Nevada contributory delinquency conviction can be sealed 1 year after the case ends.

There is a one (1) year waiting period to get an NRS 201.110 conviction sealed. Note that the waiting period begins after the case ends, not after the initial arrest or guilty verdict.5 

There is no waiting period to get a record seal if the NRS 201.110 case gets dismissed (meaning there is no conviction). However, the Nevada record seal process itself takes several weeks.6 

5. Immigration consequences for contributing to the delinquency of a minor in Nevada

Even though contributory delinquency is a misdemeanor, a non-citizen convicted of violating NRS 201.110 could still be deported if the court considers the offense to be a crime of moral turpitude. Therefore, any alien suspected of contributory delinquency should retain an experienced attorney right away who may be able to get the charge dismissed or changed to a non-deportable offense.7 Learn more about the criminal defense of immigrants in Nevada.

6. Related offenses

6.1. Furnishing alcohol to a person under 21

child with alcohol
Giving an underage person alcohol is a crime in Nevada.

A person can be charged with the Nevada crime of furnishing alcohol to a person under 21 for either:

  • selling or giving alcohol to an underage person;
  • leaving alcohol in a place with the intent that an underage person will retrieve it; or
  • giving money to an underage person knowing the person will use that money to get alcohol

This offense is a misdemeanor carrying up to six (6) months in jail and/or up to $1,000 in fines.8

6.2. Aiding a child to possess a gun

Letting a person under 18 possess a firearm in Nevada without lawful permission and supervision is a crime. (In some situations, there are exceptions involving hunting, training, or the military.) Letting a non-violent child have a gun is a misdemeanor carrying up to six (6) months in jail and/or up to $1,000 in fines. If the child is violent, furnishing the child with a gun is a felony.9

6.3. Leaving a child unattended in a car

Nevada prohibits leaving a child under eight (8) years old in an automobile if the keys are in the ignition or the conditions are potentially hazardous unless a person age twelve (12) or older is actively supervising the child. As a misdemeanor, leaving a child unattended in a car in Nevada carries up to six (6) months in jail and/or up to $1,000 in fines.10

6.4. Luring a child

Nevada law prohibits contacting a child under 16 and more than 5 years younger with the intent to take him/her away without the guardian's consent. And if the purpose of the luring was sexual, the child's age is irrelevant: All that matters is the defendant believed the victim was under 16 and at least 5 years younger. The Nevada crime of luring a child can be a gross misdemeanor or a felony.11

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Call our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys at 702-DEFENSE today for a FREE consultation.

Call a Nevada criminal defense attorney...

If you have been charged with "contributing to the delinquency of a minor" in Nevada, then please call our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673) right away for a free consultation about how we may be able to secure a reduction or dismissal of your charges.

To learn about California law, go to our article on California laws for contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

To learn about Colorado law, go to our article on Colorado laws for contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Legal References

  1. NRS 201.090  “Neglected child,” “delinquent child” and “child in need of supervision” defined.  

    As used in NRS 201.100 and 201.110, unless the context otherwise requires, a “neglected child,” “delinquent child” or “child in need of supervision” means any person less than 18 years of age:

          1.  Who is found begging, receiving or gathering alms, or who is found in any street, road or public place for the purpose of so doing, whether actually begging or doing so under the pretext of selling or offering for sale any article, or of singing or playing on any musical instrument, or of giving any public entertainment or accompanying or being used in aid of any person so doing.

          2.  Who has no parent or guardian, who has no parent or guardian willing to exercise or capable of exercising proper parental control, or who has no parent or guardian actually exercising such proper parental control, and who is in need of such control.

          3.  Who is destitute, or who is not provided with the necessities of life by his or her parents, and who has no other means of obtaining such necessities.

          4.  Whose home is an unfit place for the child, by reason of neglect, cruelty or depravity of either of his or her parents, or of his or her guardians or other person in whose custody or care the child is.

          5.  Who is found living in any house of ill fame, or with any disreputable person.

          6.  Who is found wandering and either has no home, no settled place of abode, no visible means of subsistence or no proper guardianship.

          7.  Who frequents the company of criminals, vagrants or prostitutes, or persons so reputed, or who is in any house of prostitution or assignation.

          8.  Who unlawfully visits a saloon where any spirituous, vinous or malt liquors are sold, bartered, exchanged or given away.

          9.  Who habitually uses intoxicating liquors or who uses opium, cocaine, morphine, or other similar drug without the direction of a competent physician.

          10.  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 such person.

          11.  Who is a habitual truant from school.

          12.  Who is leading, or from any cause is in danger of leading, an idle, dissolute, lewd or immoral life.

          13.  Who writes or uses vile, obscene, profane or indecent language, or is guilty of indecent, immoral or lascivious conduct.

          14.  Who violates any law of this State or any ordinance of any town, city or county of this State defining crime.

    --> Any child who is a runaway, unmanageable or a habitual truant is a child in need of supervision as that term is used in title 5 of NRS, and is not a delinquent child.

    NRS 201.100  How offense may be termed.  When the charge against any person under NRS 201.090, 201.100 and 201.110 concerns the neglect of a child or children, or the problems of a child in need of supervision, the offense, for convenience, may be termed “contributory neglect,” and when it concerns the delinquency of a child or children, for convenience it may be termed “contributory delinquency.”

    NRS 201.110  Definition; penalties; exception.

          1.  Except as otherwise provided in this section, any 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 to become a “neglected child,” “child in need of supervision” or “delinquent child,” as defined in NRS 201.090, 201.100 and 201.110 or which act or omission contributes thereto, or any person who, by any act or omission, or by threats, command or persuasion, induces or endeavors to induce any person under the age of 18 to perform any act or to follow any course of conduct or to so live as would cause or manifestly tend to cause any such person to become or to remain a person who is a “neglected child,” “child in need of supervision” or “delinquent child,” as defined in NRS 201.090, is guilty of contributory neglect or contributory delinquency. Contributory neglect or contributory delinquency is a misdemeanor.

          2.  A person does not commit a violation of subsection 1 by virtue of the sole fact that the person delivers or induces the delivery of a child to a provider of emergency services pursuant to NRS 432B.630.

  2. NRS 200.508.
  3. NRS 201.110.
  4. Id.
  5. NRS 179.245.
  6. NRS 179.255.
  7. 8 U.S.C. § 1227.
  8. NRS 202.055.
  9. NRS 202.300.
  10. NRS 202.575.

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