A status offense
is an action that is prohibited only to a certain class of people, and most often applied to offenses
only committed by minors
. In some cases, it is used to mean a regulatory offense
Definitions of status offense vary. A neutral definition may be "A type of crime that is not based upon prohibited action or inaction but rests on the fact that the offender has a certain personal condition or is of a specified character. The Federal Sentencing Guidelines
states that a juvenile
status offense is a crime which can not be committed by an adult. , i.e. possession of a firearm by a minor
- that cannot be done by an adult. In some states the term "status offense" does not apply to adults at all; according to Wyoming law, status offenses can only be committed by people under 18 years of age.
"Juvenile status offenders are distinguished from juvenile delinquent offenders. Status offenders have not committed an act that would be a crime if committed by an adult; delinquent youths have committed such an act.
The term may also be used to mean a regulatory offense, in the sense of a violation of a Rule or Regulation.
Status offenses may include underage consumption of alcohol
, tobacco smoking
, and running away
Status offense may also apply to other classes, including laws forbiding ownership of firearms by felons, where such ownership is otherwise legal.