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

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A status offense refers to the violation of a law that applies specifically to minors (truancy or underage drinking, for instance). Juvenile delinquency refers to the violation of a criminal law by a minor.

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A status offense is an act that is only an offense because of the status of the offender. Historically, this "status" often referred to the race, sex, or social class of the offender, as when anti-miscegenation laws prohibited intermarriage between races. However, in the twenty-first century in the United States and Europe, the vast majority of status offenses are illegal because the offender is a minor. These include purchasing and consuming controlled substances, such as alcohol or tobacco, and possession of a firearm by a minor (though there are other statuses, such as that of a convicted felon, which can also render the possession of a firearm illegal).

Juvenile delinquency is simply any crime committed by a minor. This means that a status offense is one type of juvenile delinquency which lies at the less serious end of the spectrum, since it would not be a crime if the offender were an adult. However, all the crimes of violence, damage, and dishonesty which an adult can commit may also be committed by a juvenile. If a person under eighteen (seventeen in some US states) commits murder, rape, robbery with violence, or any other type of crime, no matter how serious, this is classified as an act of juvenile delinquency.

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Both a "status offense" and "juvenile delinquency" refer to minors under the legal age of adulthood. The former labels behavior that violates laws specifically applying to minors. Examples of a status offense are the violation of a curfew set for minors, underage smoking or drinking, truancy, or running away. If a teenager is caught using tobacco and/or drinking beer at midnight when his or her town's curfew for people under eighteen is ten o'clock, for instance, the teen is committing a status offense (or two or three). While these actions are crimes for minors, they are not for adults.

Juvenile delinquency, on the other hand, refers to minors between the ages of ten and seventeen violating criminal laws that apply to all people. While technically, the term can apply to young people even on their first criminal offense, it is often used to designate young people with patterns of law breaking and deviant behavior. Teens who use illegal drugs, for instance, or who are guilty of stealing or assault are often called juvenile delinquents. Legal specialists also distinguish between repeat offenders who fall into a pattern of criminal behavior that lasts their entire life and age-specific offenders who leave off criminal behavior before they reach adulthood.

Both status offenses and juvenile delinquency can be serious problems for individuals, families, and communities, for troubled children and teenagers risk becoming troubled adults who harm themselves and others.

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Status offenses and juvenile delinquency are both law violations committed by a minor.

A status offense is something that somebody underage has done that is only illegal because of their status as a minor. Examples include drinking alcohol, running away from home, and truancy. For an adult, drinking, choosing to leave and start a new life, or not going to work/school are not criminal activities. They are often unwise, but never criminal. These activities have criminal status only due to the fact that the person committing them is underage.

A juvenile delinquency, on the other hand, is a crime committed by somebody underage that is always a crime, no matter how old the perpetrator is. Examples include murder, rape, and robbery.

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A status offense is an action deemed illegal because it has been carried out by a minor. The same behavior would not be regarded as an illegal act if carried out by an individual of legal age. Such behavior includes; running away from home, use of alcohol and other illegal drugs among other offenses.

Juvenile delinquency incorporates status offenses but differs in the scope of offending behavior. Offenses carried out by a minor in this case may cross over to criminal activity regardless of age. These are activities that provide for prosecution of both minors and those of legal age/adults. They may include; robbery, murder, and organized crime.

Status offenders are not charged or treated as adults. However, some juvenile delinquents may be charged and treated as adults based on the scale of the criminal behavior.

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

First, please be aware that the term "juvenile delinquency" can be used in a variety of ways.

However, at least one use of the term contrasts very clearly with the idea of a status offense  In this definition, juvenile delinquency consists of the commission of an act that would be a crime if it had been committed by a person over the age of 18.  In this sort of case, the offenders' age works to their advantage and they are not punished as severely because they are young.

By contrast, a status offense is one in which the offenders are punished because they are young.  In other words, this is an offense that would not have been illegal at all had they been of age.  The classic example of this is underage drinking.  Drinking is not illegal except for those under 21.  Therefore, it is a status offense, one in which offenders are disadvantaged because of their age.

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