Tattooing a Minor in California

Tattooing a Minor in California

Minors (those who are under 18 years old) are prohibited from making certain decisions until they reach the age of majority. While you may have seen minors with tattoos as tattooing becomes a more widespread form of art, it is important to note that this is illegal. Minors are not allowed to be tattooed in the state of California. If you are a minor or someone who offers tattoos, make sure to read our brief summary of the crime below. However, we encourage you to reach out to us at Law Advocate Group if you would like detailed legal guidance.

Elements of Tattooing a Minor

Tattooing a minor has been criminalized by California Penal Code 653. It is a serious offense as it can result in a criminal conviction, and not just an infraction. It does not matter whether the minor asks for the tattoo as any tattooing is illegal. In order for a person to be found guilty of tattooing a minor, the prosecution must prove that the defendant offered or tattooed a minor. The person performing the tattooing doesn’t even have to be a professional tattoo artist. What matters is that needle and ink were used to create a mark on the minor’s skin.

Punishments for Tattooing a Minor

If the defendant is, in fact, found guilty, they face a misdemeanor conviction. The penalties for this crime include serving up to six months in county jail and paying fines. If the defendant was a licensed tattoo artist, they can lose the ability to continue working in this field in the future. Therefore, if you are licensed or not, it is important that you have strong legal counsel to help you fight this case.


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