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NY Penal Law § 260.21: Unlawfully dealing with a child in the second degree

The crime of unlawfully dealing with a child involves subjecting a child to activity deemed inappropriate 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. For example, if you sell alcohol to a minor you will face the first degree charge, while if you sell cigarettes to a minor you will face the second degree charge. Under New York Penal Law § 260.21 you could be charged with unlawfully dealing with a child in the second degree if you:

  1. Own, manage or work at an establishment that sells alcohol and you permit a person who is under the age of 16 to remain on the premises,
  2. Tattoo a person under the age of 18, or.
  3. Sell tobacco or a tobacco product to a person under the age of 18.

Jennifer sends her 17 year old son, Jake, to a convenience store to purchase a pack of cigarettes and a can of beer for her. The employee sells Jake the cigarettes but refuses to sell him the beer because Jake is not yet 21 years old. The employee could be prosecuted for unlawfully dealing with a child in the second degree even though he refused to sell Jake beer. The employee violated the statute by selling Jake cigarettes, as Jake was not 18 years old.

Related Offenses
  1. Endangering the welfare of a child: New York Penal Law § 260.10
  2. Unlawfully dealing with a child in the first degree: New York Penal Law § 260.20

If you are accused of violating the unlawfully dealing with a child in the second degree statute based on permitting a minor under the age of 16 to remain on a premises were alcohol is served, a defense is that the child was accompanied by a parent, guardian, or a person authorized by the parent or guardian. Another defense is that the establishment was holding an event hosted by a non-profit organization, school, or religious group.


Unlawful dealing with a child in the second degree is a class B misdemeanor. If you are convicted your sentence may include up to 90 days, a probation term of 1 year, and a substantial.

New York Penal Law § 260.21: Unlawful dealing with a child in the first degree

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

  1. Being an owner, lessee, manager or employee of a place where alcoholic beverages are sold or given away, he permits a child less than sixteen years old to enter or remain in such place unless: (a) The child is accompanied by his parent, guardian or an adult authorized by a parent or guardian; or (b) The entertainment or activity is being conducted for the benefit or under the auspices of a non-profit school, church or other educational or religious institution; or (c) Otherwise permitted by law to do so; or (d) The establishment is closed to the public for a specified period of time to conduct an activity or entertainment, during which the child is in or remains in such establishment, and no alcoholic beverages are sold, served, given away or consumed at such establishment during such period. The state liquor authority shall be notified in writing by the licensee of such establishment, of the intended closing of such establishment, to conduct any such activity or entertainment, not less than ten days prior to any such closing; or

  2. He marks the body of a child less than eighteen years old with indelible ink or pigments by means of tattooing; or

  3. He sells or causes to be sold tobacco in any form to a child less than eighteen years old. It is no defense to a prosecution pursuant to subdivision three 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

Even though unlawful dealing with a child in the second degree lawyer it is a misdemeanor and not a felony, it is still important that you have experienced representation. If you are convicted you could end up behind bars. 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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