There are many different criminal acts that children can be accused of that aren't criminal for adults. Why would certain actions be a crime for younger people but not adults? Usually, it comes down to safety.
Running away, for instance, is one crime that children can be detained for. Some kids run away from home to avoid violence or out of a rebellion, but in most cases, this is particularly dangerous for the children themselves and harmful to their families. Once a person is 18, he or she has the right to move about freely without having to be under a guardian's care.
Underage drinking is another charge people under 21 can face, even though they may not be intoxicated. Having any amount of alcohol in your system when underage can result in criminal charges, even though the amount may not have been enough to affect the underage drinker's ability to drive or communicate clearly. The bad part about this is that those who drink underage can be arrested and placed in jail, where they could be exposed to violence or negative influences.
Truancy is another oddity in the American system. It's important for children to go to school, but skipping school itself can lead to criminal charges in the juvenile system in some cases. It's important for officers and attorneys to be able to see the reason behind the child's truancy before anyone moves forward with a case. Sometimes, there's a good reason, like not having a ride or having no clothing to wear due to poverty.
Your attorney can help you if your child is accused of these kinds of activities. With the right help, you can make sure your child is treated fairly.
Source: Rolling Stone, "Five Offenses That Can Land Kids (But Not Adults) In Jail," Molly Knefel, accessed Feb. 16, 2017