Contributing to the delinquency of a minor is a serious criminal charge in Tennessee under certain circumstances. Seemingly moderate instances are still serious even though details of the activity are limited. In particular, situations involving drugs are viewed harshest by local law enforcement and the court system. It is important for all Tennessee residents to understand this legal application when dealing with individuals below age 18, including their parents and guardians. It is a known fact that adults who do not abide by the law typically begin this disregard when they are young, and it usually happens when older people entice them to commit violations well before adulthood.
Misdemeanor and felony applications
While most charges for contributing to the delinquency of a minor are prosecuted as misdemeanors in Tennessee, there is an exception to this general policy when drugs are involved. Marijuana transfers of prescription drugs or under 1/2 ounce of marijuana are charged as misdemeanors. However, transfers of harder chemicals can be charged as a felony in some instances and under certain conditions. This authority is set forth in Tennessee criminal law Code Title 39-17-418 subsection (D) that also requires the charged defendant be at least two years older than the targeted minor.
Felony conviction ramifications
While convictions for a misdemeanor charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor carry a mandatory 30-day jail sentence, a Class E felony sets the punishment guidelines more significantly. A felony conviction can carry a minimum of one-year incarceration in a state correctional facility. Felony charges can be applied in marijuana cases as well as other chemicals when the amount transferred is in excess of 1/2 ounce, or 14 grams of cannabis as set forth in the same criminal law code.
It is also important to note that the Farm Bill of 2018 allows for legal sale of hemp products that contain minimal levels of THC. THC is also the active ingredient in organic Delta 9 marijuana that is still considered contraband in Tennessee, and these hemp products with minor amounts of THC are not for sale to minors. Transfers of these products could be problematic as well.