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What is Juvenile Delinquency?

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What is Juvenile Delinquency?

Juvenile delinquency refers to conduct by minors that is disruptive, destructive, or illegal. These usually consist of less serious crimes and juvenile misdemeanors. Often times, these acts are associated with the minor not attending school or "cutting class" in order to perform such deeds. As such, they are often associated with both legal as well as academic consequences.

Minors (persons under 18 in most states) who repeatedly engage in such conduct are often referred to as "juvenile delinquents."

What Are Some Examples of Delinquent Acts?

As mentioned, juvenile delinquency is associated with less serious violations and crimes such as:

More serious juvenile offenses can result in felony charges for the defendant. In some cases, the juvenile may be tried as an adult. However, the juvenile may also be viewed as a non-offender if their delinquency is seen as a result of their negative home environment.

What Are Some Legal Penalties for Juvenile Delinquency?

The juvenile justice system is aimed more at rehabilitating the minor rather than punishment through incarceration. As a result, many legal penalties for juvenile delinquency acts may involve alternative measures such as:

  • Monetary fines
  • Counseling
  • Apology letters
  • Citations

Penalties for juvenile delinquency may involve some form of a diversionary program, which may incorporate several of the penalties listed above. The juvenile offender may be allowed to complete the program in lieu of jail time.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with Juvenile Crime Laws?

Juvenile delinquency can sometimes involve fairly complex legal concepts. You may wish to hire a lawyer if you or a loved one of yours needs legal assistance. A qualified criminal lawyer can help provide legal advice and representation during the legal proceedings. Also, your lawyer will be able to help determine whether any alternative sentencing options may be available.

Photo of page author Jose Rivera

, LegalMatch Legal Writer

Last Modified: 07-05-2018 07:18 PM PDT

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