Status Offense: Juvenile Delinquency
A status offense is primarily concerned with the act of crimes that are prohibited and considered illegal for a certain age group, the same actions, if done by an adult, would be legal. Laws that are assigned to a certain age when they are violated by minors are considered to be status offenses, as the minors have not reached a certain age. For most of the states, all who lie under the age of 18 years are considered to be minors, and violation of certain laws by them is considered as a status offense.
Types Of Status Offense in the United States:
Mainly there are five types of the noncriminal act that if done by the minors are said to be violated:
- Truancy: This is the most common among all the other status offenses. Truancy refers to habitual and regular skipping or absence from school. Being regularly absent from the school without a valid reason and the knowledge of a guardian is considered to be illegal for minors.
However, the number of unexcused leave from the school varies from state to state, but if the absentee is found exceeding this, then the school first enquires internally for the cause and then to juvenile court.
In such cases, if it’s found that parents are involved or the information for their child is being absent from the school without any reason, then the parents may be sentenced to jail along with some penalties.
Truancy has always been considered the main cause of the child’s failure in school, that’s the reason it is considered to be a status offense.
2. Runaway: Runaway is the act of leaving home without the knowledge of parents. Running away from home is considered to be very risky for the youth as they may be victimized for sexual activity, drug abuse, and delinquency, so to prevent such actions runaway is considered to be a status offense.
If caught of such offenses the police may warn the minor, or hold them at a place for their parents to come or drop them at home.
3. Violation of curfews: Juvenile curfew refers to certain times or hours in which the juvenile will not be allowed to come out of their homes. These laws are made considering the safety of the juveniles. However certain circumstances are considered as if the juvenile is out during the curfew hours for religious events, school functions, traveling for work, etc. The curfew hours for juveniles differ from state to state.
If a minor is found violating curfews then it will be considered a status offense.
In case of a curfew violation, the juvenile would be fined or dropped at home, in some of the extreme cases the juvenile may end up in the juvenile hall.
4. Consumption of Alcohol: Underage drinking is most common among youths, underage drinking is a status offense, well, many states allow the supervision of parents on private property. The minimum age for the consumption of alcohol varies from state to state. In most states, the minimum age for consuming alcohol is 18 years.
5. Ungovernability: When the child is not under the control of parents or does not obey the parents or the disobedience of the child is so frequent that parents need legal help then it is considered as ungovernability that may come under status offense.
Common penalties for Status Offense: Some of the common penalties that a minor will have to bear if found of violating laws mage for them are:
- Suspension of Juvenile’s driving license
- A minor fine
- Counseling or enrolment in after school education program for juvenile
- Minor community work
- Letting the juvenile stay with some relative other than the parent or to foster home.
Status Offense is the category in which the violation of certain laws by minors is considered unlawful or illegal, though these are not the crimes for adults but keeping in mind and protecting the minors from being victimized such laws are made. Though there are not any severe charges for status offenses they can have severe consequences for the juveniles.