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

New York Penal Law § 260.20 concerns subjecting children to activities that are unsuitable for a minor, such as participating in sexual activity, getting a tattoo, or using illegal drugs. In New York, there are two different categories for unlawfully dealing with a child. These are distinguished based on the seriousness of the activities involving the child.

A person can be charged with unlawfully dealing with a child in the first degree if they knowingly allow a child who is less than 18 years old to continue staying in a place where sexual activity is occurring, or where an activity is taking place that involves a controlled substance or marijuana. A person can also be charged with unlawfully dealing with a child in the first degree if they provide or sell alcoholic beverages for a person who is under the age of 21.

Examples of Unlawfully Dealing with a Child in the First Degree

If someone has controlled substances in their apartment, such as heroine, and they also have children in the apartment, then they can be charged with unlawfully dealing with a child in the first degree.

George FernandezGeorge Fernandez
14:16 30 Apr 24
Excellent 10 out of 10, Helped resolve my case. Jeremy explained everything and made everything easy to understand.
21:33 24 Apr 24
If you are looking for a lawyer that listens, is aggressive where needed, and holds his word above all else, Todd is the best pick. I had hired multiple attorneys prior to hiring the Spodek Group for a white collar case. The first thing that stood out to me was the cost, as anyone going through the process and dealing with the system, money was tight at that time - especially after hiring and firing multiple lawyers. The cost was not as high as others which was definitely a plus. Todd's intake process was also unlike other attorneys. He took the time to actually listen. He cared. He was trying to put himself in my shoes while I was explaining the situation to him and he really took the time to understand the whole situation. Other lawyers will give you 15 mins and send you a retainer agreement. Not Todd, I think he spent almost two hours with me as I was explaining everything.Not only was he great during the onboarding process, he was supportive and very informative through the entire plea process and eventually sentencing. After hiring him, I asked if I should hire a prison consultant, he told me to save my money as he would do everything they would. He was right and held up to his word. Later on I would hear from others that went with the prison consultants that they were a waste of money - I am glad I listened to Todd!When it came time for sentencing, two days prior to sentencing, the prosecutor tried increasing my proposed prison time by almost double - apparently a normal move. Todd and his team worked with me non-stop through the weekend prior to sentencing to ensure that I was not given additional prison time. Again, he took the time to listen and came up with a strategy to explain the case with great detail.Unfortunately, I did plead guilty as that was my best option. Todd and his whole team wrote up nearly 300 pages of a summary of what happened and why I should not be given prison time. If I breakdown the amount I spent with Todd versus the amount of work that I saw being done, I am shocked I was not charged four times as much. The other benefit was, a lot of criminal defense lawyers were just a single attorney with a paralegal or two. Todd had a team of people that I dealt with (5-7 people that I interacted with), but he was ALWAYS accessible. It would never take him more than an hour to reply unless he was in court.I was sentenced to prison and I was emotionally distraught. Todd and his team did whatever they could even after sentencing to make sure I was alright. He personally stayed in touch with my family to ensure I was doing alright and offered support to them. Most lawyers would consider the job complete at sentencing, not Todd.After prison, Todd still spent time with me to make sure I was on the right track and avoiding any potential risks in the future. He has also been giving advice on how to navigate probation etc and has not been looking at the clock for billing.Although I wish I had never been arrested in the first place, I am glad I had Todd and his team in my corner. Without them I likely would have had to spend a lot more time in prison than I did.Thank you, Todd, and the entire Spodek Law team, for helping turn what was a nightmare into a manageable situation!
Yelva Saint-PreuxYelva Saint-Preux
19:26 19 Apr 24
I am immensely grateful to the entire team at Spodek Law Group for their unwavering dedication and exceptional expertise throughout my case. From our initial consultation to the final resolution, their professionalism and tireless advocacy made all the difference. Their strategic approach and attention to detail instilled confidence in me every step of the way.Thanks to their hard work and commitment, we achieved a truly favorable outcome that exceeded my expectations. Not only did they navigate the complexities of my case with precision, but they also provided invaluable support and guidance during what was undoubtedly a challenging time. I cannot recommend Spodek Law Group highly enough, especially attorneys Todd Spodek and Claire Banks; they are beacons of excellence in the legal profession.YSP.
Katherine SunKatherine Sun
18:08 18 Apr 24
my lawyer is Alex Zhik. Efficient, patient and professional
Nun yaNun ya
17:48 18 Apr 24
Todd, Ralph and Alex are amazing. Helped my husband get from a double digit number with multiple charges to a single digit, by the time I blink he will be out. They very professional and help with all your needs. They dealt with my anxiety and worry very well and they understand that your family member needs to get home as soon as possible.
Keisha ParrisKeisha Parris
20:45 15 Mar 24
Believe every single review here about Alex Z!! From our initial consultation, it was evident that Alex possessed a profound understanding of criminal law and a fierce dedication to his clients rights. Throughout the entirety of my case, Alex exhibited unparalleled professionalism and unwavering commitment. What sets Alex apart is not only his legal expertise but also his genuine compassion for his clients. He took the time to thoroughly explain my case, alleviating any concerns I had along the way. His exact words were “I’m not worried about it”. His unwavering support and guidance were invaluable throughout the entire process. I am immensely grateful for Alex's exceptional legal representation and wholeheartedly recommend his services to anyone in need of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Alex Z is not just a lawyer; he is a beacon of hope for those navigating the complexities of the legal system. If you find yourself in need of a dedicated and competent legal advocate, look no further than Alex Z.
Taïko BeautyTaïko Beauty
16:26 15 Mar 24
I don’t know where to start, I can write a novel about this firm, but one thing I will say is that having my best interest was their main priority since the beginning of my case which was back in Winter 2019. Miss Claire Banks, one of the best Attorneys in the firm represented me very well and was very professional, respectful, and truthful. Not once did she leave me in the dark, in fact she presented all options and routes that could possibly be considered for my case and she reinsured me that no matter what I decided to do, her and the team will have my back and that’s exactly what happened. Not only will I be liberated from this case, also, I will enjoy my freedom and continue to be a mother to my first born son and will have no restrictions with accomplishing my goals in life. Now that’s what I call victory!! I thank the Lord, My mother, Claire, and the Spodek team for standing by me and fighting with me. Words can’t describe how grateful I am to have the opportunity to work with this team. I’m very satisfied, very pleased with their performance, their hard work, and their diligence.Thank you team!
K MarK Mar
01:37 25 Jan 24
I recently had Spodek Law Group represent me for a legal matter in NYC and I am thoroughly impressed with their services.Alex Zhik secured the best possible outcome for my case.It was a seamless journey from the initial consultation to the resolution of my legal matter. From the moment I spoke to Todd about my case, his enthusiasm to help was evident, setting a positive tone for the entire experience. The efficiency and professionalism displayed by the team is commendable.A particularly noteworthy aspect of their service is their user-friendly portal to upload your documents/evidence. This not only simplified the process, but showcases their commitment to streamline the client experience.Lastly, in an industry where legal fees can often be a concern, I found their pricing to be very reasonable, making needing legal assistance feel accessible and stress-free.I am grateful for their support and wouldn't hesitate to turn to them again in the future.

If someone purchases a beer for someone who is underage and then gives it to them, then they could also be charged with unlawfully dealing with a child in the first degree. It’s important to note that, for the purposes of alcoholic beverages, this law refers to anyone who is under the age of 21. Even if the person receiving the alcohol is 20, the alcohol provider can still be charged with unlawfully dealing with a child in the first degree.

Defenses Against Unlawfully Dealing with a Child in the First Degree

Defending against unlawfully dealing with a child in the first degree depends on which section of the law is being argued. If the defendant supplied beer to someone who was under the age of 21, then they can potentially avoid prosecution altogether if they have not been previously charged with the same crime within the past five years. Instead of being prosecuted in this scenario, the defendant will instead be forced to take an alcohol training awareness program.

This defense is valid regardless of how much evidence the prosecution has of the violation, as long as the defendant has not had the same charge in the past five years.

Another potential defense is to prove whether or not a person knowingly allowed a child to remain on the property where illicit activities were taking place. If the defendant had a reason to believe that the child was not actually underage, then that could potentially be presented as a defense. Of course, a NYC criminal lawyer can help defendants prepare a defense based on the circumstances surrounding their specific charges.

Sentencing for Unlawfully Dealing with a Child in the First Degree

Since unlawfully dealing with a child in the first degree is considered to be a class A misdemeanor, a person convicted of it could face up to one year in jail. Aside from potential jail time, a person convicted of unlawfully dealing with a child in the first degree can also face up to three years of probation, as well as a considerably large fine.

Given the severity of being convicted of unlawfully dealing with a child in the first degree, it’s recommended that anyone facing these charges find a professional legal representative to help them handle their case and build a reliable defense.

New York Penal Law 260.21: Unlawfully dealing with a child in the second degree

New York has strict laws in place designed to protect the rights and safety of minors who are under the age of 18. New York penal code 260.21, unlawfully dealing with a child carries stiff penalties for those who are convicted of this crime. Below is an outline of this penal code and the possible defenses that attorneys may use to clear their client of charges. If you have been charged with violating this penal code, contact a NYC criminal defense attorney at once to discuss your case.


The law defines New York penal code infractions as:

  • Allowing A Child Under 18 To Get A Tattoo
  • Exposing A Minor To Unlawful Sexual Activity
  • Allowing A Minor To Drink Alcohol
  • Giving Drugs To A Minor Child
  • Exposing A Minor Child To The Sale Of Drugs
  • Selling Alcohol To A Person Under 21

Charges similar to this one are endangering the welfare of a child and unlawfully dealing with a child in the second degree in New York.


This crime is a Class A misdemeanor. The penalties imposed by the state of New York for violation of penal code 260.21 are as follows:

  • Jail Time Up To 1 Year
  • 3 Years Probation After Jail Sentence
  • Fines As Determined By The Court

If you have not been convicted of the crime of unlawfully dealing with a child in the second degree in the past 5 years, you may be able to avoid prosecution for this crime. In most instances, the court would require you to complete a drug and alcohol awareness training class insread of jail time. You may be placed on probation, however as deamed fair by the court.

Possible Defenses

Even though this crime is a misdemeanor, it can still have a negative impact on your life. For this reason, it is best to seek the legal counsel of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Your attorney may do the following to defend you:

  • Investigate Your Case
  • Negotiate A Lighter Sentence With The Prosecution
  • Suggest Alternative Sentencing

When imposing sentences for this crime, the court takes into consideration the background of the defendant and whether or not there was a past criminal history. Most first time offenders do not receive jail time unless there are extenuating circumstances involved. However, there is no guarantee of a light sentence which is why you need a criminal defense attorney on your side.

Facing charges outlined in New York penal code 260.21 is very serious and being convicted could change your life in many unpleasant ways. Contact a criminal defense attorney today to learn how he could help defend you against these charges in court. Not only would a conviction damage your reputation, it could cause you to be incarcarated for up to 1 year. Having an experienced lawyer on your side will ease your mind, knowing your future is in competent hands. In many cases, defense attorney’s are able to negotiate a deal with the prosecution before court. Do not leave your future to chance, schedule an appointment with a criminal defense attorney today to learn what options are available to you under the law.

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