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running away from SC, legal consequences?

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  • running away from SC, legal consequences?

    If I run away from South Carolina when I'm 17, preferably to Illinois or Kansas, what legal repercussions do I need to worry about? I'm trying to get away from an abusive family and want to live with my friends and their parents, and I'm not sure how differing state laws would treat my case. Here are some questions I have:

    1. In South Carolina, the law states that 17-year-olds are considered legal adults by the justice system; so a 17-year-old runaway can not be forced to return home again. Would this still matter in Illinois or Kansas?

    2. Under what circumstances can my friends' parents get into legal trouble for harboring me?

    3. Can I possibly file for emancipation in order to avoid legal trouble?

  • #2

    Thanks for writing us.

    We’re not legal experts, but our understanding is that the age of majority (or when you become an adult) is 18 in all three states (SC, IL and KS). The laws of the state may apply, but we can't be totally sure. A legal aid resource or a call the non-emergency police might help clear this up. If you are or approaching adulthood under South Carolina’s law, the police may decline to intervene, but the policies may vary by each police department.

    Regarding your friend’s parents, harboring a runaway is a crime, but it is at the discretion of the police in that area to decide whether they would be charged. Emancipation would make you legally an adult, but it can be a time consuming process that requires showing that you can financially support yourself. You may turn 18 before a court determined whether you should be emancipated.

    If you want to discuss this further, feel free to call our 24x7 hotline, 1-800-RUNAWAY.

    Please remember you can reach us directly by calling our 24 hour hotline, 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929) or through our Live Chat.

    National Runaway Safeline
    [email protected] (Crisis Email)
    1-800-RUNAWAY (24 Hour Hotline)


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