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Easy to Understand Definition of Minor Juvenile

Definition Of Minor Juvenile

Depending on the jurisdiction, the exact age might vary, but most of the time a minor is considered to be someone who is under the age of 18, and according to the law, cannot be held legally and fully responsible for his or her actions. Understandably, minors may be ineligible for using certain services and buying certain products for which it is assumed sound adult judgment is required. For instance, although statutes may vary, generally the age of 18 is the threshold for the legal ability to purchase cigarettes/tobacco. Meanwhile, for other non-narcotic drug-oriented products, like alcoholic beverages, the minimum age to buy is 21.

While individual states may decide what age someone becomes a legal adult, the Federal Government has also had its say on the subject of minors and juvenile delinquency. In the 1960s and 1970s, the United States was especially active in legislating to address problems with crimes committed by children.

The Juvenile Delinquency Prevention and Control Act of 1968 and the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974 worked in concert not only to implement programs at the community level to take children out of situations that lent themselves to underage criminality, but also to ensure funds were delivered to states that kept minor convicts away from their older counterparts in detention. It was the Federal Juvenile Delinquency Act that specifically addressed the definition of juvenile delinquency, detailing that minors under the age of 18 guilty of a criminal offense were to be considered delinquent.

A minor in juvenile court will almost certainly be treated differently than one tried in criminal court as an adult, as a juvenile court does not have the authority to exact a sentence of punishment on a child. Rather, juvenile courts will prescribe programs of rehabilitation for offending minors and will otherwise afford them greater legal flexibility.

NEXT: Find Out Who Oversees Juvenile Detention in America

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