Tattoos can be a way for individuals to express their creative tendencies. These markings will last throughout an individual’s life unless they are removed with special procedures. Due to the lasting nature of a tattoo, it is against the law for anyone to give a minor a tattoo.
California Penal Code Section 653: Tattooing a Minor is used to prosecute individuals who break this law. The Simmrin Law Group can help you learn more about PC 653 with this article. Take this opportunity to go over the penalties for tattooing a minor and some possible defenses for PC 653 accusations.
The Legal Definition of Tattooing a Minor
California provides a very clear definition of tattooing a minor in PC 653. According to this charge, individuals commit a criminal act if they tattoo or even offer to tattoo anyone under 18 years old. Tattooing may be any act that distributes pigment beneath the skin, causing an indelible mark.
Note that there are certain exceptions made to this rule for licensed practitioners of the healing arts. These individuals should not be charged with tattooing a minor for legitimate actions carried out in the course of their health care practice.
Examples of Tattooing a Minor in California
Man A runs a successful tattoo shop in a college town. He’s used to tattooing students and does not always card his clients, because he figures they must all be over 18. However, some of his clients are under 18. He could face criminal charges for tattooing a minor, even though he was unaware that his clients were underage.
Man B works as a tattoo artist. He also has several children who frequently ask him for tattoos. On his oldest child’s sixteenth birthday, he agrees to give her a tattoo as a present. Even though she is his child, he could be charged under PC 653.
Man C is a medical professional who injects a special kind of ink into his patients’ skin during the course of a medical procedure. He does this every day, even to minors. He would not be charged under PC 653, because he is tattooing individuals as part of his health care duties.
Charges That Are Similar to PC 653
Minors receive a lot of protection in the state of California. There are a number of legal charges used to prosecute individuals who may mistreat them, including:
- California Penal Code Section 272: Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor.
- California Penal Code Section 273(a): Child Endangerment.
- California Penal Code Section 273(g): Lewdness or Intoxication in the Presence of a Child.
- California Penal Code Section 647.6: Annoying or Molesting a Child.
Additionally, individuals who commit sex crimes against minors can face incredibly harsh penalties, including fines and jail time.
Common Penalties for Tattooing a Minor
Tattooing a minor is treated as a misdemeanor in the court system in California. The penalties for a PC 653 conviction can include:
- Jail Time of Up to Six Months.
- Fines of Up to $1,000.
You should be aware that, in some cases, judges may sentence a defendant to probation instead of jail time for tattooing a minor.
Possible Legal Defenses for PC 653 Charges
You may have legal options to defend yourself if you are accused of tattooing a minor. A criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles can help you review the defenses that could work for you. Let a lawyer go over the facts of your case today. A lawyer can see if the following defenses are applicable in your case:
You Did Not Actually Tattoo a Minor
Tattooing a minor involves depositing ink below the skin of an individual under 18 years old. If you applied a temporary tattoo, or drew on a minor’s skin with an ink pen, you would not be charged and convicted under PC 653.
You Were Engaging in the Healing Arts
We mentioned earlier that PC 653 makes an exception for practitioners of the healing arts. If you injected ink beneath the skin of a minor as part of your healing practice, you could be able to avoid a PC 653 conviction.
Speak with a Professional About PC 653 Charges
You can get help right now if you were accused of violating California Penal Code Section 653: Tattooing a Minor. The professionals at the Simmrin Law Group can start working on your defense right away. You can begin building your case by contacting us now for a FREE consultation.
Call 310-991-4688 or complete our online contact form to get legal advice from our criminal defense lawyers in Los Angeles.