Privileges Of Turning 18

Written by J. Hirby and Fact Checked by The Law Dictionary Staff  

In most states, the age of 18 is when you are officially and legally treated as an adult. This includes the ability to enjoy certain rights along with the requirement to fulfill certain duties. Here are the privileges of turning 18.

"Treated Like an Adult at Age 18"

A minor (juvenile or child) is under the protection of parents for the necessities of food, clothing and shelter. Also, the parents are the legal and financial guardians of the juvenile. If a minor shoplifts or breaks a window with a baseball, the parents are held legally responsible. The minor cannot be held to any contract.

Each state is different when it comes to a concept like being able to move out. But in the United States, the age of 18 is when you legally become an adult. Before that age, you are a minor under the guardianship of your parents.

Under the age of 18, states can dramatically restrict your driving privileges by prohibiting any passengers or driving at certain times of the day. This all changes when you become a major at 18.

"Added Duties When You Are An Adult"

When you turn 18, your juvenile record can be sealed. You now have a "fresh start" as an adult. You are responsible for your actions. You can enter into contracts because they are now legally binding. This opens up a wide range of new activities you can engage in.

Whether you know it or not, a child is not responsible for gambling losses. This is a form of a contract. Juveniles cannot qualify for legally binding contracts.

This also includes marriage. In order to be legally married, you must be an adult who can have the authority to say "I do." You can't do that until you are 18 years old.

When you apply for a job, you must sign a tax form and contract. This is not legally binding until you are an adult. Thus, after 18, you can hold a job, get an apartment, buy stocks and purchase real estate.

The government wants you to register for the Selective Service (military draft) when you turn 18. You are now legally required to serve your country. You can vote and because jury duty is based on your voting records, you also must serve in a jury of your peers.

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