Juvenile Delinquent Law & Legal Definition


A juvenile delinquent is defined as a juvenile who has committed a delinquent act or is in need of car or supervision. A delinquent act is an act committed by a child that is designated a violation, misdemeanor, or felony offense under the law of a state or of another state if the act occurred in another state or under federal law or a violation of a municipal ordinance except violations of municipal curfew ordinances. The term usually does not include most traffic offenses committed by one 16 years of age or older. Juvenile delinquents are subject to state statutes, which vary by state, allowing for, among other things, taking the juvenile into custody, ordering restitution for offenses committed, and compliance with supervisory conditions.

The following is an example of a state statute dealing with juvenile delinquency:

  1. "A child charged with a delinquent act or who is alleged to be in need of supervision shall be accorded the privilege against self-incrimination.
  2. An extrajudicial statement which would be constitutionally inadmissible in a criminal proceeding shall not be received in evidence over objection. Evidence illegally seized or obtained shall not be received in evidence over objection to establish the allegations against him. An extrajudicial admission or confession made by the child out of court is insufficient to support a finding that the child committed the acts alleged in the petition unless it is corroborated by other evidence.
  3. Criminal proceedings and other juvenile proceedings based upon the offense alleged in the petition or an offense based upon the same conduct are barred where the court has begun taking evidence or where the court hasaccepted a child's plea of guilty to the petition."