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Texas laws that every Texan should know

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You’re Too Young!

You’re a minor and you want a tattoo, but your local tattoo artist won’t tattoo you because it’s illegal.

 

What if I told you that it wasn’t illegal for you to get a tattoo?  That’s right, even in Texas, minors can get tattoos in the right circumstances; however, that doesn’t make it a good idea.

 

“Minors” Aren’t Barred From Tattoos

Something you should understand first is that the law doesn’t bar minors from getting tattoos, instead, it bars tattooing a “person younger than 18 years of age.”

—See Client Qualifications, Disclosure, and Records—Tex. Admin. Code § 229.406(c)

—See Tattoos Prohibited for Certain Persons—Tex. Health & Safety Code § 146.012(a)(1)

 

The reason this matters is because a minor can seek emancipation to “remove the disabilities of minority,” but since the law doesn’t bar tattooing minors, emancipation does nothing.

 

Consent of Parent To Cover Existing Tattoo

If you have an existing tattoo, your parent can consent that it be covered with another tattoo, as long as your parent determines that it is in your best interest.

—See Client Qualifications, Disclosure, and Records—Tex. Admin. Code § 229.406(d)

—See Tattoos Prohibited for Certain Persons—Tex. Health & Safety Code § 146.012(a-1)(1)(d)

 

However, the existing tattoo must contain 1) obscene or offensive language or symbols; 2) gang-related names, symbols, or markings; 3) drug-related names, symbols, or pictures; or 4) some other type of words, symbols or markings that the parent, guardian, or a court considers would be in the best interest of the minor to cover.

—See Client Qualifications, Disclosure, and Records—Tex. Admin. Code § 229.406(d)(1)

—See Tattoos Prohibited for Certain Persons—Tex. Health & Safety Code § 146.012(a-1)(1)

 

Therefore, under the law, you must already have a tattoo to get a tattoo.  Basically, you have to get an illegal/obscene tattoo, and convince your parent that it is in your best interest that it be covered in order to get a legal tattoo to cover it up.

 

How Your Parent Can Consent

Let’s just presume that you have a tattoo, and your parent has given consent to get it covered.  How’s a tattoo artist supposed to know that your parent has consented?  The tattoo artist isn’t going to risk going to jail without covering his bases.

 

In order to prove that your parent consents, your parent must provide a lot of evidence to the tattoo artist.  The parent must:

 

1. be physically present at the time the tattoo is being performed,

2. execute an affidavit stating that the person is your parent or guardian,

3. present evidence of the your identity to the tattoo artist,

4. present evidence of the status as your parent or guardian,

5. supply the tattoo artist with a written detailed description or photograph of the tattoo to be covered, which will be kept with the artist’s permanent records, and

6. provide the tattoo artist with the full name, address, and telephone number of your parent or guardian

—See Client Qualifications, Disclosure, and Records—Tex. Admin. Code § 229.406(d)(2)

—See Tattoos Prohibited for Certain Persons—Tex. Health & Safety Code § 146.012(b)

 

Illegal to Lie to Tattoo Artist

In case you’ve considered lying about your age to a tattoo artist in order to get a tattoo, DON’T!  If a person under the age of 18 represents falsely that the person is 18 years of age or older, or presents any document that indicates that the person is 18 years of age or older, to a person operating a tattoo studio, then that person commits a Class B Misdemeanor.

—See Tattoos Prohibited for Certain Persons—Tex. Health & Safety Code § 146.012(c)

 

A Class B Misdemeanor is punishable by a fine not to exceed $2,000.00, confinement in jail for up to 180 days, or both fine and confinement.

—See Class B MisdemeanorT ex. Pen. Code § 12.22

 

Should You?

Now that you know the law, now you should consider whether or not you should get a tattoo as a minor.  Even if you already have a tattoo, that doesn’t mean that you should hurry out to get it covered now.  There will be plenty of time later to get it covered, so take your time.

 

Getting a tattoo is a permanent, and adult, decision.  When making adult decisions, you need to remember that just because you can do something, doesn't mean that you should.  This article is meant to provide information on our laws, not to encourage you to go out and get a homemade tattoo just to convince your parent to let you get it covered up.

 

--Authored by Matthew L. Harris, Esq.,

 

Matthew Harris Law, PLLC  - Civil Litigation Division

1001 Main Street, Suite 200, Lubbock, Texas, 79401-3309

Tel: (806) 702-4852 | Fax: (800) 985-9479

FrontDesk@MatthewHarrisLaw.com 

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Minor Tattoo Laws of Texas (Monday, February 3, 2014)