Tattoos are now viewed by individuals very differently than they were a few decades ago.
Nowadays, getting a tattoo is more socially acceptable and even cool. The most recent statistics, which show that over half of adult Americans have at least one tattoo to show for it, seem to support this.
The fact that many young people follow the trend is not surprising, with people getting their first tattoos at younger and younger ages. It’s not unusual to see folks covered in tattoos in their adolescent years or even earlier.
But is getting a tattoo at 14 legal? Or is that already a little too far-fetched?
To learn the answer to this question, we have to look into the current tattoo laws in the United States.
This article is for informational purposes only and focuses on the current laws in the US. It’s always advised to consult with local authorities for maximum clarity.
Is It Illegal to Get a Tattoo at 14?
There is no federal law in the United States that forbids anybody, regardless of age, from getting inked up. That implies that it is up to each state to determine its own tattoo rules and regulations.
And most states do that.
The minimum age requirement of 18 years old is what unites all of the states.
What distinguishes them, however, is their stance on people under the age of 18 who want to get their first tattoo.
Looking at the general picture across the states, the minimum age for getting a tattoo in most states is 14 years old. Getting tattooed at this age is, of course, only permitted with parental approval and/or the presence of the parent/legal guardian, according to the rules of each state. Having said that, several jurisdictions don’t specify the minimum age for being tattooed with parental approval which is seen as a bit of a loophole.
Some states allow children to acquire tattoos with parental approval, while others need a legal guardian to accompany the youngster. Then there are jurisdictions that expressly prohibit kids from having tattoos, regardless of parental agreement.
States Allowing Tattoos at 14
You’re in luck if you’re a tattoo-mad 14-year-old living in one of the following states:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- North Dakota
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
States Prohibiting Tattoos at 14
There are, however, some states where you’re not allowed to get a tattoo at 14 even with parental agreement. These are:
- New York
- North Carolina
- Rhode Island
14 Might Be Too Young Anyway
Even if you meet the minimum age requirement for the specific state, many tattoo artists and parlors may reject to tattoo someone if they feel they are too young. This is due to the fact that tattoos are a permanent bodily alteration that necessitates a particular amount of maturity to ensure that the individual knows what they’re doing.
- Related: Where Can I Get a Tattoo at 14?
It is fairly uncommon for people who acquire tattoos at a young age to regret them later in life. This is why many tattoo artists would reject to tattoo someone they feel is too young and will regret it later.
The basic conclusion is that, while it is theoretically permissible in some states for a 14-year-old to get a tattoo, it is typically not a smart idea. We would advise you to wait till you are at least 18 years old before being tattooed.
Artists Responsible for Law Breach
Assuming your parents agree to you having a tattoo at the age of 14, the next step is to find a tattoo artist who is willing to execute the tattoo.
As previously stated, many tattoo artists will refuse to ink kids regardless of parental consent. This is because they might face substantial legal consequences if something goes wrong or if the parental form/ID has been faked.
Tattooing a minor without or with faked parental consent form is a misdemeanor in most states, punishable by a fine and/or jail time. The fines vary from $100 to $2,500, and the prison sentence ranges from one month to one year (depending on the state and the repetitiveness of the offense).
Taking the above into consideration, it’s no wonder that many tattoo artists will refuse to tattoo someone they know is below the legal age, even if they have parental approval.