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What are the differences between a "status offense" and "juvenile delinquency?"

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ricka31 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 24, 2012 at 4:16 PM via web

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What are the differences between a "status offense" and "juvenile delinquency?"

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted June 24, 2012 at 4:44 PM (Answer #1)

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The difference between these two is that a status offense is one sort of juvenile delinquency.

Juvenile delinquency can be defined as any actions taken by a minor that are illegal.  There are, of course, many sorts of juvenile delinquency.  Status offenses are the least serious of all types of juvenile delinquency.  These are actions that would not be illegal were it not for the age of the person involved.  One example of this is drinking alcohol, which is only illegal for those under 21.

Other forms of delinquency can be much worse.  Anything from petty theft to murder can be defined as juvenile delinquency.  Status offenses are a type of juvenile delinquency, but they are much less serious than other types.

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