The juvenile justice system is based on rehabilitating minors to prevent them from offending again as adults. Some crimes are so serious though that minors are tried as adults. However, most are accused of status offenses.

What is a Status Offense?

A status offense is considered a violation of law and not a criminal act because of the age of the offender. These offenses were enacted to protect juveniles’ welfare, safety, and health.

What are the Types of Status Offenses?

Status offenses vary by state. The most common offenses include:

  • Being beyond out of control for the parent or guardian to handle
  • Truancy
  • Underage drinking
  • Underage possession of alcohol
  • Running away
  • Underage possession of tobacco
  • Underage use of tobacco
  • County or city curfew violation

What are the Penalties for Status Offenses?

Status offense penalties vary from state to state. Common penalties involve:

  • Requiring a juvenile to pay restitution or a fine
  • Suspending the juvenile’s driving privileges
  • Placing the juvenile in the care of someone other than the parent or guardian
  • Ordering the juvenile to attend an education or counseling program
  • Mandatory community service

How are These Handled By Juvenile Court?

The sentences depend on the jurisdiction and violation. For example, when a juvenile violates curfew, he or she may be taken to a center and picked up by a parent.

Do I Need to Contact a Criminal Juvenile Court Lawyer?

It’s in your best interest to discuss your matter with a criminal defense lawyer. A lawyer can often help by diverting the case so it’s not on your child’s juvenile record. The lawyer can also arrange for a juvenile’s release from any pre-adjudication detention center.