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Home > Law & Legal Topics > Juvenile Delinquency

» Juvenile Delinquency:
Juvenile delinquency law is the branch of law for violations of the law by an individual who is under an age fixed by law for being an adult which would have been a crime if committed by an adult.

Who qualifies as a juvenile varies from state to state. A juvenile usually has to be older than a certain minimum age (usually 6 to 10 years old) and younger than a certain age (usually 16 to 18 years old). Some states define juvenile status at the time the offense is committed. Other states define juvenile at the age the child is convicted.

Even those afforded the protection of juvenile status generally may be subject to search incident to being taken into custody, interrogation, and arrest.

Juvenile delinquency offenses range from nuisances (such as noise, public disorder, loitering on street corners), to running away from home, to possession of alcohol, and to other crimes commonly committed by adults.

Juvenile delinquency often results in a referral to a school official, social worker, youth facility, or juvenile or family law court. In most states the authorities must try to contact the child's parents when they take the child into custody. In addition, most states allow the child to be released into the custody of the parent if the parent promises to ensure the child will appear for his court date.

Juveniles are more likely than adults to receive punishments that do not involve lengthy detentions. Instead, courts impose various diversionary sentences. This often includes mandatory community service, treatment, and education or job training.

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