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South Carolina Legal Ages Laws

There are some things children and teens just don’t get to do. It’s not rules parents enforce, like no ice cream before dinner or going to bed by 9 pm on a school night, but also laws the state of South Carolina enforces. For example, we know no one under 21 can go to the bar and order a margarita. But, what other age-related restrictions apply in South Carolina? Are there ways around them? Sometimes yes, sometimes no.

The following table explains the main legal age laws for minors in South Carolina.

Age of Majority The age of majority or when a person becomes a legal adult is 18 years old in South Carolina, under South Carolina Code Section 15-1-320.
Age to Purchase Alcohol In South Carolina, it’s illegal for anyone under 21 to purchase, consume, or possess beer, wine, or alcohol (except as part of a religious ceremony like communion). Also, retailers aren’t permitted to sell alcohol to persons under 21 years old.

However, a married person under 21 is allowed to drink alcohol at home with his or her spouse who is over 21 years old and purchased the alcohol. Otherwise, transferring alcohol to a person under 21 is illegal.
Age for Marriage A person who is at least 16 years old can marry in South Carolina with parental permission.
Eligibility for Emancipation South Carolina doesn’t have an emancipation statute that delineates an emancipation process. However, it’s possible to petition the juvenile court to get yourself legally emancipated. Some of the criteria you’d likely want to include would be similar to the request to stop child support payments due to emancipation of the child (the child became self-supporting), such as graduation certificates, paystubs, etc.
Contracts by Minors A minor can’t be required to pay for debts contracted for when still a minor, unless a promise to pay back the debt was made in writing and signed by the party after they became a full adult. However, for necessaries (food, shelter, and clothing) a minor can be required to pay back the debt.
Minors’ Ability to Sue A minor or mentally incompetent person can sue through a legal representative (guardian or fiduciary) or through a “next friend” or guardian ad litem (who can be appointed by the court).
Minors’ Consent to Medical Treatment A married minor or his or her spouse can consent to health procedures (such as diagnostic, therapeutic, or post-mortem). Additionally, a minor parent can consent to medical procedures for his or her minor child.

Finally, a 16 or 17 year old can consent to health services for himself or herself. Another person, such as his or her parent, will only be consulted when a procedure is essential to the health or life of the child according to the doctor and a consulting physician, if available.

Note: As state laws change all the time, it’s important to confirm the accuracy of the laws you’re researching by either conducting your own legal research or contacting an attorney.

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