Legal Rights of an 18-Year-Old

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Turning 18 can be an exciting time. You are leaving behind your life as a child and growing into an adult. If you live in the United States, your 18th birthday marks your first day as an adult legally. Being a grown-up can come with new rights as well as a bunch of new responsibilities.

Perks of Being 18

One benefit of being 18 is that you are now eligible to vote. Contact the city or county office where you live and request a voter registration card so that you can be ready to vote in the next election. Another perk of being 18 is the ability to make your own decisions. If you have a job and income, you can move out of your parents' house and live on your own. You can also do things such as choosing a college in another state. You can also play the lottery at 18.

It's Not All Fun and Games

Once you turn 18, it is more important than ever to follow all laws at all times. If you get in trouble with the police, you can be arrested and tried as an adult. Adult criminal punishments are typically much more serious than juvenile punishments. You also can be called for jury duty now that you are of legal age.

Serious Decisions

As an 18 year old, you can make life-changing decisions without your parents' consent. One example is that you can choose to join the Army. You need to figure out if you will pursue an education while serving in the Army or after you serve in the Army. You also need to be comfortable with the fact that you could be shipped overseas to fight in a war zone. You can now marry your high school sweetheart and no one can stop you, assuming your sweetheart is of legal age as well.

There Can Still Be Rules

If you are 18 and plan to still live in your parents' home, you are not above the rules. Just because by law you can do certain things doesn't mean you can behave however you want in your parents' house. Your parents own the property and they are no longer required by law to house you once you are an adult. It is to your benefit to sit down and talk to your parents and devise a set of rules that you both feel comfortable with.


About the Author

Valerie Tandoi began writing professionally in 2004. She has been published in various print and online media outlets including: "New Jersey Business Magazine," "South Jersey Mom Magazine," "ASA-Dix Newspaper," "Happy Woman Magazine" and others. She also creates print and Web content for businesses. Tandoi holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Caldwell College and currently lives in New Jersey.