The legal age of consent for receiving a tattoo or body piercing varies from state to state. Most states have made it illegal to perform body art on minors under the age of 14, and at least 39 states have enacted laws that prohibit minors from getting tattoos, while 28 states do not allow minors to get tattoos or body piercings without parental consent. (In California, it is a misdemeanor to tattoo anyone under the age of 18.) For body piercing in California, the person must be 18 years of age, or if between 14 and 18 years of age, must have a parent present or provide notarized permission. Shop staff and certified body piercers know these laws well and should never deviate from them, since breaking these laws will involve fines, penalties and even possible jail time.
The vast majority of states follow along these lines, with some notable exceptions. In the states of Maine, Mississippi and Washington, you must be 18 to receive a tattoo or body piercing, while states like Georgia, Illinois and Wyoming require a body piercing performed on a minor to include parental permission and be performed only by a physician. If you are unsure about the laws regarding body art in your state, contact your county health department.
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