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17 and in Ohio. Am I Legally able to runaway?

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  • #31
    I’m 17 & in Ohio, I turn 18 in a month & 20 days. I’ve been trying to leave my home without any legal issues being brought up. I’ve read that I am able to leave in Ohio without legal issues because my 18th is so close but I’m not sure I believe it. I just don’t want to get myself or my twin sister in trouble. I guess what i’m asking is, is there any legal issues in Ohio with 17 year old runaways & can I move out without permission?


    • ccsmod15
      ccsmod15 commented
      Editing a comment
      Hi there,

      We appreciate you reaching out to us at the National Runaway Safeline. It sounds like you’re in a rather difficult situation. We’re not legal experts, so we can’t say for sure that you wouldn’t face any issues if you left home one month and twenty days before you’re 18, but here’s what the language around runaway laws in Ohio says:

      A runaway youth may be taken into custody without a warrant by a police officer or by an authorized officer of the court. The police officer shall not deliver the youth to a shelter care facility without a court order unless it is in the best interests of the youth. Ohio Rev. Code Ann. 2151.31 (2017).

      Essentially, it’s going to depend on, if an authority does end up picking you up, what they decide to do. Their priority, per the state, is the course of action that will best keep you safe. This could mean being reunited with your family or being placed in a transitional living program. It is also possible that they may not choose to do anything if you are caught/reported as a runaway. This is not to say that any of this is what would happen in your situation, but to illustrate some scenarios of what’s happened with other young folks in your situation.

      We would be happy to point you toward some legal resources as you navigate this challenging time period of your life, or be a listening ear if you need one—our confidential crisis chat line and phone line are available 24/7.

      Good luck to you, and please reach out to us at 1 (800) RUNAWAY if you’d like to talk!


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