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NY Penal Law § 260.20: Unlawfully dealing with a child in the first degree

The crime of unlawfully dealing with a child involves subjecting a child to activity deemed in appropriate for a minor. Such activity includes sexual activity, illegal drugs, and tattooing. There are 2 unlawfully dealing with a child offenses in New York's criminal code. The specific charge that you will face depends on the gravity of the activity to which you subject the child. Under New York Penal Law § 260.20 you could be charged with unlawfully dealing with a child in the first degree if you:

  1. Knowingly permit a child who is less than 18 years old to remain in a place where sexual activity is taking place or where activity involving controlled substances or marijuana is taking place; or
  2. Give or sell alcoholic beverages to someone who is less than 21 years old.

Police officers executed a search warrant on an apartment where Sandra Diaz resided. When the officers entered the apartment Diaz was there along with her boyfriend, her children, and her 13 year old niece. In the bedroom of the apartment the officers discovered several packets of heroin and suboxone. Diaz was charged with unlawfully dealing with a child in the first degree. The charge was based on there being illegal drugs in the apartment in the presence of children. People v. Diaz, 2015 NY Slip Op 1302 (N.Y., 2015)

Related Offenses
  1. Endangering the welfare of a child: New York Penal Law § 260.10
  2. Unlawfully dealing with a child in the second degree: New York Penal Law § 260.21

Even if the prosecutor has evidence that you violated the unlawfully dealing with a child in the first degree statute by giving or selling alcohol to someone who is under 21 years old, pursuant to New York Penal Law § 260.20, you can avoid prosecution if you have not been convicted of this crime within the prior 5 years and you complete an alcohol training awareness program.


Unlawful dealing with a child in the first degree is a class A misdemeanor. If you are convicted your sentence may include up to 1 year in jail, a probation term of 3 years, and a substantial fine.

New York Penal Law § 260.20: Unlawful dealing with a child in the first degree

A person is guilty of unlawfully dealing with a child in the first degree when:

  1. He knowingly permits a child less than eighteen years old to enter or remain in or upon a place, premises or establishment where sexual activity as defined by article one hundred thirty, two hundred thirty or two hundred sixty-three of this chapter or activity involving controlled substances as defined by article two hundred twenty of this chapter or involving marihuana as defined by article two hundred twenty-one of this chapter is maintained or conducted, and he knows or has reason to know that such activity is being maintained or conducted; or

  2. He gives or sells or causes to be given or sold any alcoholic beverage, as defined by section three of the alcoholic beverage control law, to a person less than twenty-one years old; except that this subdivision does not apply to the parent or guardian of such a person or to a person who gives or causes to be given any such alcoholic beverage to a person under the age of twenty-one years, who is a student in a curriculum licensed or registered by the state education department, where the tasting or imbibing of alcoholic beverages is required in courses that are part of the required curriculum, provided such alcoholic beverages are given only for instructional purposes during classes conducted pursuant to such curriculum. It is no defense to a prosecution pursuant to subdivision two of this section that the child acted as the agent or representative of another person or that the defendant dealt with the child as such.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

If you are charged with unlawful dealing with a child in the first degree lawyer it is important that you have experienced representation. If you are convicted you could face up to 1 year in jail. The staff at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates has years of experience successfully defending clients in New York criminal courts who have been charged with felonies and misdemeanors. Contact us at 800.696.9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve those accused of crimes in the following locations: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Nassau County, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County and Westchester County.

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