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17 years old in Texas, need to leave home

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  • 17 years old in Texas, need to leave home

    Hello, I am here today because I am leaving my house and need to know my legal opinions, I am 17 am living in Texas and graduating school in October of 2018, my mother has bipolar disorder and I need to leave asap, they are away right now until Sunday so I'm with my grandparents, I need to know my options, will the people I'm staying with get in trouble for harboring a runaway? Do I need proof of my mom saying get out of her house? Will I be able to get I license, (I have a permit already)? How can I go about getting my medications which I need to function normally? I have a place to stay and such, i have until Sunday night when my parents come back to figure this out
    i still plan on attending school, and know how to get there and back

  • #2
    Hi there,

    Thanks for reaching out. It sounds like you’re going through a really rough time at home and you are trying to figure out how to maintain the life you have now as best as possible. We appreciate how you’re considering planning for your well-being and we hope to help however we can.

    We aren’t legal experts, and even if we were, runaway laws vary from place to place within the U.S. So the information we provide is general, and may be different from the laws that are enforced where you live. You can feel free to direct some of your questions at your non-emergency police department (not 911). You do not have to provide any personal or identifying information about yourself that you think might jeopardize your safety. If you have difficulties finding your community’s non-emergency police department’s contact info, then call us at 1-800-786-2929 for help.

    Generally, if you leave home without permission before you turn 18, you could be filed as a runaway. Running away is generally not illegal, and often results in the police simply returning a youth home. There is a rare chance any adults you stay with while you’re a runaway could be charged with harboring you. Penalties for this offense vary from state to state, but this charge often requires the police and your parents to want to file the charges. Because of that, it’s somewhat rare to be charged with this.

    If your mother told you to leave her home, having proof that she said this could be helpful if legal problems come about when you leave home. If your mother told you to leave home, she may still file a runaway report to the police – in essence, she can lie to the police or change her mind about letting you leave home without telling you. You could show the police that your mom told you the leave your home. But, you may wish to know that if you do this, the police may be obligated to report your mother for neglect.

    As far as your license, we are not sure if running away will present any obstacles for you. It seems that even if you were filed as a runaway and unable to get your license because of this, you would be able to get your license at 18 years of age, when runaway reports no longer become valid on people who are not missing.

    We aren’t sure what obstacles you have in getting your medication, but we may suggest reaching out to the health professionals responsible for your care to see what they suggest. We aren’t legal experts, and we definitely are not experts at health law.

    We hope this response was helpful!** We’d love to hear from you about your experience using our crisis email/forum.** Your feedback plays an important role in helping us improve our services to youth and families. Please click the link to fill out our survey: **
    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 (Crisis Email)
    1-800-RUNAWAY (24 Hour Hotline)

    Tell us what you think about your experience!


    • #3
      Hello in Harris County, Houston Texas if i were to run away at the age of 17 (5 months away from my 18th birthday) would me or the people i stay with suffer any legal consequences if i am not in any danger


      • ccsmod10
        ccsmod10 commented
        Editing a comment
        Hi there,
        Thank you so much for reaching out to us here at NRS. We are happy to help you out and it shows a lot that you reached out to us. We are not legal experts so we can’t give guaranteed answers however we can talk about some patterns we have noticed or things that could come up however, each state and sometimes each county is a little bit different. For specific references and resources, please feel free to contact us personally either on our 24/7 online live chat or at our 24/7 toll free hotline at 1(800)786-2929.
        In regards to your question, the legal age of adulthood in the US is 18. Some states vary in that and you can check here: (click on our state and then scroll down to the information section and look for age of minority/majority, if it says 17 age of minority that means legal age of adulthood is 18 (take the age of minority and add a year). Sometimes states have special laws for youth who are about to turn 18. It is possible you may be able to leave home legally without your parents’ permission but an option that you might consider is reaching out to your local police department’s non-emergency number to speak with them directly about the laws.
        In terms of the people you may be staying with suffering legal consequences, there are such laws called the harboring a runaway law. What this means is any person who is found having a youth who is listed as a runaway stay in their home, they could be charged with harboring a runaway. This law is not present in every state and the states it is present in may have a variety of ways of implementing it. For the most correct information on this law, you may want to consider the option of, again, reaching out to your local police department’s non-emergency number.
        We hope this information has helped and please feel free to reach out to us for any other references and help.
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