What Is the Difference Between Crime and Deviance?

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Crime is behavior that breaks the law, and deviance is behavior that differs from the socially accepted norm. When a deviance breaks a law, it becomes a crime. Acts of crime are punishable by law, while acts of deviance can only be punished by law when those acts break laws.

What is considered deviant for one group of people may not be viewed that way by other groups. However, illegal behavior is always criminal and punishable by fines or jail. An example of deviant behavior may be getting a facial tattoo or bold body piercing. An example of a criminal act is driving while intoxicated.