2021 Tennessee Code
Title 37 - Juveniles
Chapter 1 - Juvenile Courts and Proceedings
Part 1 - General Provisions
§ 37-1-156. Contributing to Delinquency — Penalty — Jurisdiction of Court

Universal Citation: TN Code § 37-1-156 (2021)

    1. Any adult who contributes to or encourages the delinquency or unruly behavior of a child, whether by aiding or abetting or encouraging the child in the commission of an act of delinquency or unruly conduct or by participating as a principal with the child in an act of delinquency, unruly conduct or by aiding the child in concealing an act of delinquency or unruly conduct following its commission, commits a Class A misdemeanor, triable in the circuit or criminal court.

    2. An adult convicted of a violation of this section shall be sentenced to the county jail or workhouse to serve one hundred percent (100%) of the maximum authorized sentence for a Class A misdemeanor if:

      1. The adult's conduct constituting a violation of this section involves supplying, giving, furnishing, selling, or permitting a child to buy or obtain, a product or substance that is unlawful for the child to possess; and

      2. As a proximate result of the product or substance, the child engages in conduct that causes the death of another.

  1. When any juvenile judge shall have reasonable ground to believe that any person is guilty of having contributed to the delinquency or unruly conduct of a child, such judge shall cause the person to be arrested and brought before such judge. In such case, when the defendant pleads not guilty, the juvenile court judge has the power to bind the defendant over to the grand jury or to proceed to hear the case on its merits without the intervention of a jury if the defendant requests the hearing in juvenile court and expressly waives in writing an indictment, presentment, grand jury investigation and jury trial. In the event the defendant enters a plea of guilty, the juvenile court judge has the same power as the circuit or criminal court in making final disposition of the case.

    1. If a child is found delinquent a second or subsequent time for conduct that constitutes the offense of vandalism under § 39-14-408, and the property vandalized is owned, operated, maintained or used by a governmental or other public entity, the parent or legal guardian of that child is in violation of this section.

    2. It is a defense to a violation of this subsection (c) if the parent or guardian demonstrates to the court that all reasonable means available were taken to prevent the child from engaging in the prohibited conduct.

    3. In lieu of the punishment prescribed in subsection (a), if the court finds that the parent or guardian of the delinquent child is in violation of this subsection (c), it may order the parent or guardian to repair, repaint, clean, refurbish or replace the property damaged as a result of the vandalism. If the damage does not lend itself to repair or cleaning, or if there is a legitimate reason why the parent or guardian is unable to do so, the court, in its discretion, may allow the parent or guardian to pay to have the damage repaired or replaced. If the parent or guardian is indigent and cannot afford to replace the damaged property, the court shall order the indigent parent or guardian to perform other community service work for which the parent or guardian is better suited.

    4. A violation of this subsection (c) may be heard and determined by the juvenile court.

    5. As a dispositional option for the delinquent act of vandalism, the court may also require the child responsible for the vandalism to assist in the repair or cleaning of the damage along with the child's parent or guardian.
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