Legal age to get a tattoo in California: Many parents as well as teens want to know the minimum age to get tattoos or body piercings. It depends on the area or country where you live, in some countries it is legal for minors or an individual to get a tattoo under the age of 18 years without their parental consent. Each state like England, Europe, Russia, California, USA, UK, etc has its own rules about inking the body so you will need to know the law in your area.

Legal age to get tattoo in California

Legal Age To Get A Tattoo In California – What You Need to Know

If anyone breaks the law, he will surely face a fine, imprisonment and may lose their license to practice the tattooing.

State laws

Laws change with time to time so it is important to have the latest information about the regulations in your state or country. Different countries have different rules and regulations. In some countries, you are allowed to have a tattoo before completing 18 years. Here, we are discussing California law.

There is a minimum age requirement for a child that can be in a tattoo shop. A person has to complete 18 years of his or her age to get a tattoo in California. There is no upper age limit to get a tattoo. In fact, it comes under crime if a person “inks” a minor who has not completed its 18 years.

It is a criminal offense if a person tattoo or offer to tattoo, an individual under the age of 18 under California statute – California penal code 653 PC.

Legal Age To Get A Tattoo In California – California Penal Code Section 653 PC: Tattooing A Minor

    • Definition and Elements of the Crime

      Among teenagers and young adults, tattoos and other forms of permanent body art are increasingly popular. Tattoos may be openly accepted and known all over the world, but it is still considered as a crime if a person “inks” a person’s body who is under the age of 18. This action is stated under the California Penal Code section 653 PC.

      To prove guiltiness of the defendant of inking a minor or a person under the age of 18 years, a prosecutor must have to show that the defendant tattooed a person or offered to tattoo a person under the age of 18 years. The below point will help to prove:

  •  The defendant embedded the color or pigment under the surface of the skin of a person.
  •  By pricking the skin of a human being with a needle or comparable tool.

  • And creating a permanent mark or figure that is obviously visible through the skin.
  1. The exception

Under the California penal code section 653 PC, there is an exception for licensed practitioners of the “healing arts”. This implies that these licensed practitioners are not guilty of inking a minor in the event that they prick a minor’s skin with a needle in the course of their practice.

A few instances of practitioners employed in the “healing arts” are occupational therapists, massage therapists, chiropractors, medical assistants, and acupuncturists.


  1. For example assume, there is a man who runs a tattoo parlor and is well known and famous for his artistry. One day a young boy comes into his parlor and looks around. The young boy tells the tattoo artist that he wants a tattoo on his body but is scared of what his parents would say if he got one. The boy is so scared that he drops the idea of getting a tattoo but the tattoo artist offers to give him a tattoo at a discount and doesn’t ask him his age. The boy denies and leaves the tattoo parlor.

The man could be charged under California Penal Code Section 653 PC on the grounds that the offense applies equally to the individuals who tattoo as well as those who merely offer to tattoo someone under 18 years old. To tattoo and to offer a tattoo to someone is considered as equal under the California penal code.

2. In another example, a licensed dermatologist runs a clinic in which he practices. In his practice, he helps patients who are affected by skin discolorations and other skin irregularities to heal. As a major aspect of his practice, the doctor sometimes injects dyes or colors under his parent’s skin to treat their conditions. This course helps the patient to heal their skin problems. Assume one of his patients is a sixteen-year-old girl who comes to him for treatment of her problem with her parent’s consent. The doctor would not be guilty of violating California law, long as it is resolved that he was performing “healing arts” throughout his practice.

What are the penalties if a person violates this section?

If a person is found guilty of inking a minor who is not 18 years old, a person is charged with a misdemeanor. Violating of California penal code section 653 is a crime. The crime is punishable by:

  1. imprisonment in the country prison for not more than six months and/or,
  2. a maximum fine of $1,000 and/or,
  3. license cancel of practicing.

Are there any legal defenses?

There are three basic legal defenses accessible to a defendant that is accused of inking a minor.

  1. As written above, there is an exception for licensed practitioners of the healing arts. If a licensed practitioner injects dye under the skin of a minor in the course of his practice, he is not violating the California Penal Code Section 653 PC. If a licensed practitioner “inks” a minor who is under 18 years in the span of their practice, then they are not violating the law. Hence they are not guilty of a crime.

2. The second way is to show that he did not “inked” an individual, as that term is characterized under the rule. For instance if an individual that puts a temporary tattoo on a minor who is under 18 years is not guilty of violating the law of California because he did not prick a needle into minor’s skin.

3. Law enforcement agencies sometimes conduct sting operations on various tattoo artists. Their only agenda is to catch tattoo artists offering tattoos to minors who are under 18 years red-handed.  If the undercover officer in the sting operation becomes excessively forceful or in any case pressures the litigant to commit this crime, the defendant would have a solid valid defense if charged criminally.


1. What about piercings in California?

As discussed above to have a tattoo a person must be of 18 years, but there is no minimum age for getting a piercing. Like having tattoos, getting piercing is also common and so trendy between both boys and girls. However a minor must have one of her or his parental consent before getting minors’ ears piercing. Further, one of the minor’s parents must be present before and during the activity.

2. where can I get a tattoo at 16?

You can get a tattoo at 16 in these European countries- Cyprus, France, Germany, Poland, Netherlands, and Portugal.

with parental consent- Austria, Croatia, and Ireland.

3. Can you get a tattoo at 16 with parental consent?

yes, of course, you can. You can get a tattoo at age 16 with parental consent. The countries are- Austria, Croatia, Spain, and Ireland.

4. How old do you have to be to get a tattoo in Arizona?

A minor needs the presence of one of the parents or legal guardian to receive a tattoo or piercing.

5. How old do you have to be to get a tattoo in texas?

A minor needs the presence of one of the parents or legal guardian to receive a tattoo in texas. The adult must have to show proof of parentage or guardianship.

6. How old do you have to be to get a tattoo in Nevada?

The legal age to get a tattoo in Nevada is 18 years old. Teenagers between the ages of 14 and 18 can get a tattoo with their parental consent.

7. Where can I get a tattoo at 15?

In Ireland, there is no legislation regulating body piercing and tattooing. Children who are 14 years of age can get tattoos with parental consent.

We hope you get all the answers to your questions. If you are staying in California ( United States Of America) here is a very interesting and informative article for all the queries of yours.

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