Juvenile Law (West's Encyclopedia of American Law)
An area of the law that deals with the actions and well-being of persons who are not yet adults.
In the law a juvenile is defined as a person who is not old enough to be held responsible for criminal acts. In most states and on the federal level, this age threshold is set at 18 years. In Wyoming a juvenile is a person under the age of 19. In some states a juvenile is a person under the age of 17, and in Connecticut, New York, and North Carolina, a juvenile is a person under the age of 16. These age definitions are significant because they determine whether a young person accused of criminal conduct will be charged with a crime in adult court or will be required to appear in juvenile court.
Juvenile courts generally have authority over three categories of children: juveniles accused of criminal conduct; juveniles neglected or abused by their parents or in need of assistance from the state; and juveniles accused of a status offense. This last category refers to conduct that is prohibited only to children, such as absence from school (truancy), flight from home, disobedience of reasonable parental controls, and purchase of alcohol, tobacco, or PORNOGRAPHY.
Originally the term juvenile delinquent referred to any child found to be within the jurisdiction of a juvenile court. It included...
(The entire section is 4910 words.)
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Juvenile Law and Justice (Great American Court Cases)
Juvenile law refers to that body of law dealing with juveniles, or persons who are not yet adults. The definition of a juvenile varies from state to state according to the age at which a person is deemed to reach adulthood. In at least one state (Wyoming), the age of adulthood is 19; for some legal purposes, other states set the age at 16, and still others set the age at 17 or 18.
Juvenile law is a special blend of law created especially for juveniles to account for their immaturity and innocence. There are three basic categories of children over which juvenile courts have jurisdiction: children accused of committing a crime; children who are in need of protection from the state; and children who have committed a status offense. A status offense is conduct that is prohibited only to children, and not to adults. Examples of status offenses include failure to attend school (known as truancy), failure to obey reasonable parental controls, cigarette smoking, drinking of alcohol, possession of pornography, and flight from home.
Before the creation of juvenile law in the late nineteenth century, children in the United States generally were treated under the law as adults. For criminal behavior, only children under the age of seven were immune from criminal prosecution. A child of seven or older, if convicted of a crime warranting incarceration, was sentenced to prison with adults....
(The entire section is 2179 words.)