Deviant acts refer to a type of behavior that does not adhere to widely accepted cultural and social norms. Examples include major violations of law such as murder, theft and rape, and minor acts such as traffic violations.
Each society has its own definitions of what is considered deviant, which makes deviance a relative issue. Some of the standards used for determining what is deviant include location, age, individual societies and social status. All societies have methods of social control that allow them to punish individuals when they do not conform to norms. Deviant behavior can be viewed from sociological, biological and psychological perspectives.
A deviant act is any act that goes against the law or the acceptable social norms in a community. Formal deviant acts such as robbery, rape and murder are punishable by the law. A person caught engaging in such acts is prosecuted in court and may go to jail, pay a fine or serve a community service sentence. Laws against formal deviant acts are strictly enforced, through the police and other law-enforcing agencies.
Informal deviant acts have fewer consequences and may not cause serious harm to the victims. While considered offensive, they may not earn any severe punishment. Various societies have differing social norms, and an act that is considered deviant in one community could be acceptable in another, says Boundless. Some communities have specific punishments for certain informal deviant acts, while others have none. The strictness with which a deviant act is treated depends on the age of the perpetrator, the location and the social norms that prevail in that culture, claims SparkNotes.