Contributing to the delinquency of a minor is a criminal offense under Nevada law that encompasses a variety of acts which lead or encourage minors under the age of 18 into unfavorable behaviors and situations. According to Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) 201.110, a person may be found culpable if their actions or lack thereof, either directly or indirectly, cause a minor to:

  • Beg in public places or live in unfit conditions including brothels or homelessness.
  • Associate with criminals, lack adequate adult supervision, or frequent saloons.
  • Engage in the consumption of drugs or alcohol, or partake in other unlawful activities.
  • Habitually miss school or partake in idle or immoral activities.

However, the law explicitly states that it does not apply to those who, in a crisis, deliver a minor to emergency services, such as in safe-haven situations. This effort ensures the protection of minors while also providing a clear boundary on acceptable adult behaviors and responsibilities. To understand this, let’s dive deeper below.

NRS 201.090, NRS 201.100, NRS 201.110 | How Has Nevada Defined and Penalized Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor?

What Does It Mean to Contribute to a Minor’s Delinquency in Nevada?

In Nevada, being responsible for a minor’s delinquent behavior or neglect is considered a crime known as contributing to the delinquency of a minor. This entails an individual’s actions or lack thereof leading a minor (someone below 18 years old) into any of the following 14 conditions:

  • Soliciting money in public spaces.
  • Lacking proper parental or guardian oversight.
  • Facing a lack of essential life needs.
  • Residing in living conditions deemed inappropriate for children.
  • Inhabiting a brothel.
  • Experiencing homelessness.
  • Associating with known criminals or nomads.
  • Frequenting bars or similar establishments.
  • Using alcohol or drugs.
  • Ignoring reasonable directives from their parents or guardians.
  • Routinely skipping school.
  • Engaging in aimless, immoral, or indecent behavior.
  • Acting in a manner deemed indecent or immoral.
  • Violating the law.

It’s important to distinguish that contributing to the delinquency of a minor differs from child abuse (as defined by NRS 200.508), which typically involves causing physical, sexual, or mental harm to a child.

Understanding Nevada’s Safe Haven Laws
Nevada’s Safe Haven laws allow individuals to legally relinquish babies up to 30 days old to certain authorized facilities without facing charges for contributory delinquency. These safe locations include:

  • Hospitals, obstetric centers, or independent emergency medical care centers licensed under chapter 449 of NRS.
  • Public firefighting agencies, including volunteer fire departments.
  • Law enforcement agencies, such as police or sheriff’s departments.
  • Ambulance services with permits under chapter 450B of NRS.
  • Child welfare service agencies.

By surrendering an infant 30 days old or younger to any of these designated safe havens, individuals are assured not to be prosecuted for contributory delinquency, encouraging responsible and safe care for the child’s well-being.

What Are the Legal Consequences for Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor in Nevada?

In Nevada, if you are found guilty of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, you are facing misdemeanor charges, which can result in:

  • Up to six months in jail and/or
  • Fines up to $1,000

While it is uncommon for first-time misdemeanor offenders to receive jail time, cases involving the welfare of a child might be treated more stringently by the judiciary. As such, defendants are less likely to receive light penalties consisting of fines alone for their first offense. In these scenarios, hiring competent legal representation is critical to challenge the accusations effectively and seek the most favorable outcome possible.

Furthermore, this particular misdemeanor holds potential strategic value in legal negotiations. For example, the charge of child endangerment carries more severe penalties than contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Thus, prosecutors might be open to reducing a charge from child endangerment to contributory delinquency under certain circumstances.

Could Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor Impact Your Immigration Status?
Yes, non-citizens convicted of contributing to the delinquency of a minor might face deportation if the offense is deemed a crime of moral turpitude. It’s crucial for non-citizens facing such charges to seek skilled legal representation immediately. An experienced attorney could potentially get the charges dismissed or amended to an offense that does not carry deportation risks.

How Can You Defend Yourself Against Charges of Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor in Nevada?

In the Silver State, defending against charges of contributory delinquency hinges on the specifics of the case, but there are several common defense strategies:

1. False Accusations
Mistakes happen, and sometimes individuals are wrongly arrested due to misidentification or false allegations. This can occur due to misguided intentions from disgruntled minors or ex-partners seeking retribution.

A criminal defense attorney can delve into the background, highlighting motives for false accusations and gathering evidence like communications and recordings that suggest the defendant’s innocence. If the prosecution cannot establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, the charges should be dismissed.

2. No Delinquency Committed
Not every instance of perceived poor parenting equates to contributing to a minor’s delinquency. Feeding a child fast food or allowing extensive screen time does not directly lead to delinquent behavior.

A defense lawyer would refute the charges by demonstrating the absence of actions that genuinely contribute to delinquency, encouraging the dismissal of the case due to lack of evidence.

3. Legally Protected Behavior
Some actions may be mistakenly interpreted as contributory to delinquency when they fall within the scope of reasonable disciplinary measures. Nevada law permits parents and guardians to apply disciplinary actions such as time-outs, restrictions on activities, or withholding privileges without crossing the line to delinquency.

A skilled attorney can argue that the defendant’s actions were within their legal rights, pushing for the charges to be dropped based on a misunderstanding of the law.

When Is It Possible to Seal a Criminal Record?

An individual must wait for one year after the conclusion of their case to pursue record sealing for a conviction under NRS 201.110. “Case conclusion” means any probation or imposed sentence is fully served, not the date of the arrest or conviction.

If a case under NRS 201.110 is dismissed with no conviction, one can apply for a record seal immediately, although the sealing process typically spans several months.

What Are the Legal Consequences for Providing Alcohol to Minors and Other Related Offenses?

Supplying Minors with Alcohol
In the event that an adult is found to have sold, given, or intentionally left alcohol where they expect a person under the age of 21 to retrieve it, that adult may face serious legal repercussions. Additionally, providing a minor with funds to purchase alcohol, knowing the intention behind the transaction, also constitutes a similar offense. Such actions are considered a misdemeanor, with potential penalties including up to six months of incarceration and/or fines reaching $1,000.

Enabling Minors to Access Firearms
It is considered a criminal offense in Nevada to permit a minor to possess a firearm without lawful authority or adult supervision. While there are exemptions, such as for hunting, instructional purposes, or military-related activities, generally allowing a minor to have a gun is regarded as a misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and/or fines up to $1,000. If the minor involved has a history of violence, the seriousness escalates to a felony.

Leaving a Minor Unsupervised in a Vehicle
State laws forbid leaving a child under eight years old alone in a motor vehicle if the keys are present or if the environment poses potential risks—unless an individual, who is at least twelve years old, is present to actively supervise. Violating this law results in misdemeanor charges with potential penalties that include up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000.

Child Luring
The act of communicating with a child under the age of sixteen, who is also at least five years younger than the person initiating contact, for the purpose of persuading the child away from their guardian without permission, defines the offense of child luring. The severity of the charge—whether a gross misdemeanor or a felony—depends on the context, particularly if the intention involved a sexual motive.

When the luring intent is sexual in nature, the child victim’s actual age becomes irrelevant, with the key aspect being the perpetrator’s belief that the child is under sixteen and at least five years younger than themselves.

Nevada laws surrounding such offenses are designed to protect minors from harm and exploitation. Individuals facing these charges should seek legal counsel to navigate the complexities of the defense process and to understand the full scope of the consequences they face.

For further legal assistance and to discuss your case with an expert, don’t hesitate to contact ATAC LAW.