In criminal law, a juvenile is an adolescent who is not old enough to take responsibility for a crime they are accused of, so they might not be seen in a traditional court, but by a juvenile court. A juvenile delinquent is an adolescent who has been found guilty of a crime.  At the federal level, the age limitation is under 18, but committing a serious crime or repeated offenses might cause a juvenile to be tried as an adult under criminal law according to 18 U.S. Code § 5031. The juvenile is also protected specially by the law, for example, the juvenile shall not be detained for longer than a reasonable period of time before a magistrate judge; the arresting officer shall immediately advise the juvenile’s legal right and notify their parents and the attorney general, according to 18 U.S. Code § 5033

See also: juvenile justice

In civil law, “juvenile” and “minor” are commonly used to indicate a person who lacks civil liability.

[Last updated in April of 2022 by the Wex Definitions Team]