Contributing to the delinquency of a minor is a criminal offense in Nevada. Specifically, this is defined as causing a child under the age of 18 to:
- 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 with maximum punishments of:
- 6 months in jail, and/or
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
The full text of the statute reads:
NRS 201.110. 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.
In this article, our Las Vegas Nevada criminal defense attorneys discuss:
- 1. What is contributing to the delinquency of a minor in Nevada?
- 2. What are the penalties for violating NRS 201.110?
- 3. How do I fight the charges?
- 4. When can the record be sealed?
- 5. Are there immigration consequences?
- 6. Related offenses
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:
- begging on the street or other public place;
- having no parent or guardian exercising proper parental control;
- being destitute or without life necessities;
- living in a home that is unfit for a child;
- living in a brothel;
- being homeless;
- keeping the company of criminals or vagrants;
- visiting a saloon;
- consuming alcohol or drugs;
- refusing to obey the child’s parents’ or guardians’ reasonable orders;
- being habitually truant from school;
- leading an idle, dissolute, lewd, or immoral life;
- conducting themself in an indecent or immoral way; or
- breaking the law1
Save Haven laws
Note that Nevada’s “safe haven” laws permit people to lawfully leave babies no older than 30 days 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.
People who safely surrender their 30-day-old or younger infants at any of these “havens” will not face criminal prosecution for contributory delinquency.3
As a misdemeanor, contributing to the delinquency of a minor carries a sentence of:
- up to six (6) months in jail, and/or
- up to $1,000 in fines4
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 open to letting defendants off with only a fine. Therefore, defendants should retain legal counsel to fight the charges and negotiate for the best possible resolution.
Since contributing to the delinquency of a minor is only a misdemeanor, it is a favorable offense to plea bargain down to: For instance, child endangerment carries harsher penalties than contributory delinquency, and prosecutors may be willing to reduce child endangerment to contributory delinquency in some cases.
The best way to fight contributory delinquency charges turns on the facts of the case. But some common defenses include:
- The defendant was falsely accused
- There was no delinquency
- 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.
A criminal defense attorney would investigate the situation and compile evidence — such as past communications and recordings — to show that the 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 leading an immoral life.
Just because a child has undesirable habits does not make them 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.
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 record seal process itself takes several months.6
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
6.1. Furnishing alcohol to a person under 21
A person can be charged with 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 minor possess a firearm 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 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 sixteen (16) years old and more than five (5) years younger than the defendant with the intent to take the child 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.
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 right away for a consultation about how we may be able to secure a reduction or dismissal of your charges.
In California? Go to our article on Penal Code 272 PC.
In Colorado? Go to our article on Colorado laws for contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
- NRS 201.110.
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.”
See, for example: Ex parte Converse, (1921) 45 Nev. 93, 198 P. 229; Hudson v. City of Las Vegas, (1965) 81 Nev. 677, 409 P.2d 245.
- NRS 200.508.
- NRS 201.110. NRS 432B.630 (“The Safe Haven Infant Protection Act”).
- NRS 179.245.
- NRS 179.255.
- 8 U.S.C. § 1227.
- NRS 202.055.
- NRS 202.300.
- NRS 202.575.