Juvenile Delinquency Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Juvenile Delinquency, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Juvenile Delinquency?

It refers to the antisocial or criminal activity of the child below 18 years of age and which violates the law. In true context, that same activity would have been a crime if it was committed by the adult.Such activities are definitely tried in juvenile court and is senteced a bit differently that that of an adult.

History and Meaning of Juvenile Delinquency

The concept of Juvenile Delinquency emerged during the Industrial Revolution, and it was not until the early 19th century that children under the age of seven were exempt from criminal responsibility. This notion was further expanded under English common law, which held that children between the ages of 7 to 14 were presumed incapable of committing crimes unless it could be proven that they understood the nature of their actions. In modern times, Juvenile Delinquency is a term used to describe unlawful or criminal acts committed by minors who are under the age of 18.

Examples of Juvenile Delinquency

  1. Vandalism or graffiti
  2. Underage drinking or drug use
  3. Theft or shoplifting
  4. Physical assault or bullying
  5. Cyberbullying or online harassment

Legal Terms Similar to Juvenile Delinquency

  1. Status Offenses: Behaviors that are considered offenses only because of the offender's status as a juvenile, such as truancy, running away from home, and curfew violations.
  2. Transfer Hearing: The legal process by which a juvenile case is transferred from juvenile court to adult court to be tried as an adult.
  3. Juvenile Justice System: The legal system specifically designed to handle cases involving minors who have been accused of committing crimes or violating the law.