People love South Dakota for a variety of reasons.
The state is home to some of the most beautiful natural scenery in the country, with its majestic mountains, lush forests, and pristine lakes. South Dakota is also a great place to live for its low cost of living and high quality of life.
Equally important for tattoo enthusiasts, Mount Rushmore State (as it’s commonly known) is home to a number of excellent tattoo shops. In fact, South Dakota has some of the best tattoo artists in the Midwest.
With that said, the existence of South Dakota’s tattoo laws means that not everyone can legally get inked or start work as a tattoo artist.
In this article, we will look at the latest regulations to make sure you are up-to-date on what is and isn’t allowed when it comes to tattooing in South Dakota.
South Dakota Tattoo Laws & Regulations
The fact that South Dakota has rules in place for the body art industry isn’t anything overly surprising – most states in the US do.
And akin to them, the SD laws apply both to the clients and the artists/parlors.
Let’s look into both now.
Tattoo Laws for Customers
So, how old do you have to be to get a tattoo in South Dakota?
In order to get a tattoo in South Dakota, you must be at least 18 years old. This is the same age limit that applies to getting any kind of body piercing in the state.
But what if you’re still a minor and desperate to get the ink job done? Can you get a tattoo at 16 in South Dakota?
The good news is that South Dakota is one of quite a few states that allows tattooing minors under specific conditions. If you are under 18, you will need to have parental consent before you can get inked. The written consent form must be signed by a parent or legal guardian in the presence of the tattoo artist.
As far as the placement of the tattoos is concerned, there are no specific regulations in South Dakota. However, most tattoo shops will have their own guidelines, so it’s always best to check with the artist or parlor before you go ahead with the procedure.
Tattoo Laws for Artists
It’s worth noting that it’s the artist who will be held accountable if a minor gets tattooed without the necessary parental form. In the state of South Dakota, this is considered a Class 2 misdemeanor and can result in up to 30 days in jail and/or a fine of $500.
In order to start operating a tattoo business in South Dakota, you must first obtain a license from the state. The same applies to artists who want to work in a shop – they must also hold a valid license.
Just like in a lion’s share of US states, tattooing is only allowed from the premises of a licensed parlor. This is to ensure that the environment is clean and safe, and that the artists are properly trained.
And since we’ve touched on the subject of a clean and safe environment, it’s worth noting that the SD tattoo laws stipulate that all body art studios might be randomly inspected by the state Health Department.
Some of the basic requirements on the sanitation front include:
- The parlor must have running water and soap
- All surfaces must be cleaned between customers
- All instruments must be sterilized
- All needles must be disposable
What’s worth pointing out, the artists and studios in which they work are permitted to refuse service to anyone, for any reason. So if you show up to a tattoo shop and the artist doesn’t think you’re ready (perhaps you seem intoxicated or under the influence of drugs), they can turn you away.
The same goes for customers who are rude or disruptive – no one is obliged to provide them with a service. Naturally, any designs that can be deemed offensive and go against the artist’s moral compass can also result in a refusal to tattoo.
Frequently Asked Questions
Now that we’ve looked at the basics of South Dakota’s tattoo laws, let’s round up some of the most frequently asked questions related to the subject.
Do you need a tattoo license in South Dakota?
Yes, you need a license to operate a tattoo business in South Dakota. The same applies to artists who want to work in a shop – they must also hold a valid license.
Can you get a tattoo at 16 in South Dakota?
Yes, you can get a tattoo at 16 in South Dakota with parental consent. The written consent form must be signed by a parent or legal guardian. An identification document is also necessary.
Can you get a tattoo at 14 in South Dakota?
Theoretically speaking, there are no rules against tattooing someone who is 14 years old in South Dakota. However, it’s possible some artists and studios might find this too young and refuse service.
What states can you get a tattoo at 14?
There are many states that allow minors to get inked with a written parental consent form. Some of these states are Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, or New Mexico. However, bear in mind that some artists and studios might not be comfortable tattooing someone who is 14 years old.
Where can you get tattoos at 16 in SD?
Most studios in South Dakota will be happy to tattoo someone who is 16 – as long as they can provide a parental consent form with the required identification documents.
Where can I get a tattoo at 17 in SD?
Where can I get a tattoo at 15 in SD?
Where are tattoos illegal?
Luckily, all states in the US have already lifted the ban on tattooing. The last state, Oklahoma, lifted the ban in 2006.
Can parents give kids tattoos?
There is no federal law against it, but some states have regulations in place.
References & Conclusion
As you can see, the rules and regulations surrounding tattooing in South Dakota are pretty straightforward.
The most important thing to remember is that if you’re under 18, you will need parental consent before you can get a tattoo. Other than that, there aren’t any specific placement regulations, but it’s always best to check with the artist beforehand.
And finally, both the tattoo shops and the artists who work in them must be licensed by the state. The environment must also be clean and safe, in accordance with the state’s sanitation laws.
The information on South Dakota’s tattoo laws covered in the article has been based on official sources: