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Contributing to delinquency: A serious accusation

When minors make mistakes, it's understandable. They may not have much life experience with certain things, so it's normal to see a teenager or young adult make mistakes.

In some cases, adults, or at least those over 18, are helping persuade minors to commit acts of delinquency. When that happens, those individuals can be charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor. This charge can have a significant impact on your life, so you should do your best to defend yourself against the allegations.

What are the elements of a CDM case?

In a CDM case, it has to be shown that there was:

  • An adult who has failed to perform a duty or who has committed an act that caused a minor to become or remain a habitual truant, delinquent or dependent of the juvenile court.

What's interesting about this is that the juvenile does not necessarily have to commit a crime for you to be accused of CDM. For instance, if you have purchased cigarettes for a person who is underage but haven't yet given them to the minor, you could still be accused of CDM for making the purchase with the intention to provide the substance to a minor.

One of the most common CDM cases is providing alcohol to a minor. Those who are caught doing so can face serious charges for CDM as well as for providing alcohol to a person under the age of 21.

Are there exceptions in CDM cases?

Yes, there are some exceptions. For example, it's not always illegal to provide a minor with alcohol. For instance, sometimes, children may receive alcohol as part of a church service or be given it by a parent with consent on a private premises. Some medications contain alcohol, and children may need them for their medical treatment.

In some states, minors can participate in government research or be working undercover and have access to alcohol. Even in schools, there is a possibility to have an exception if alcohol is being used to serve an educational purpose. For example, teaching someone to cook with wine would be acceptable by law in several states.

State laws vary widely when it comes to CDM cases, and the laws change often. If you're accused, it's best to find out the exact laws that you've violated and to be able to defend yourself within the specifics of your case.

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