Status offense

Status offense

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, truancy, and running away from home.

Status offense may also apply to other classes, including laws forbiding ownership of firearms by felons, where such ownership is otherwise legal.

See also


Search another word or see Status offenseon Dictionary | Thesaurus |Spanish
Copyright © 2015, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature