People today perceive tattoos considerably different than they did a few decades ago.
A tattoo is more socially accepted and even hip these days. Recent data suggests that this is the case, with close to half of American adults having at least one tattoo.
Given that individuals are getting their first tattoos at younger and younger ages, it is not unexpected that many minors want to follow the trend. People covered with tattoos as early as their teenage years are not uncommon to observe.
We must examine the country’s present tattoo legislation in order to get the answer to this query.
But is it legal to get a tattoo at 15? Or is that a bit too an age to start your ink collection?
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 15?
No one in the United States is prohibited from obtaining tattoos, regardless of age, under federal law. This suggests that each state is free to set its own laws and restrictions on tattoos.
And most states do that.
All of the states have an 18-year-old minimum age restriction. But what sets them apart is how they feel about first-time tattoo seekers who are under the age of 18.
Looking at the overall picture across all states, the majority of them have a minimum age of 14 for acquiring a tattoo. As per the laws of each state, getting a tattoo at this age is only permissible with parental consent and/or in the presence of the parent/legal guardian.
While some states allow minors to get tattoos with parental consent, others demand that a legal guardian be present when the minor does so. Then there’s the third group that specifically forbids children from getting tattoos, even with parental consent.
States Allowing Tattoos at 15
You’re in luck if you’re a tattoo-mad 15-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 15
However, in other areas, even with parental consent, getting a tattoo before age 15 is not permitted. These are:
- New York
- North Carolina
- Rhode Island
15 Might Be Too Early Nonetheless
Even if you are older than the state’s minimum age requirement, many tattoo parlors and artists may refuse to tattoo you if they consider you too young anyway. And they have a complete right to do so.
This is because getting a tattoo is a permanent body modification, which calls for a certain level of maturity to guarantee that the person knows what they’re doing (no offense, kid!).
- Related: Where Can I Get a Tattoo at 14?
It’s not unusual for people who get tattoos while they’re young to come to regret getting them later in life.
The main conclusion is that getting a tattoo at age 15 is often not a smart choice, even if it could be totally legal in some places. We strongly advise delaying getting inked until you are at least 18 years old.
Artists Responsible for Law Breach
The next step is to locate a tattoo artist who is willing to carry out the tattoo if your parents are okay with you getting one at the age of 15.
In spite of parental permission, many tattoo artists will not tattoo children – whether they’re 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, or 17! This is due to the possibility of severe legal repercussions if something goes wrong or if the parental form or ID is fake.
Most states consider tattooing a minor to be a misdemeanor that carries a fee and/or jail time as punishment. The jail term varies from one month to one year, and the penalties range from $100 to $2,500. (depending on the state and the repetitiveness of the offense).
Given the above, it should come as no surprise that many tattoo artists would decline to tattoo a client who they know to be underage, even if they have parental consent.