Last reviewed November 2010
Resources on Minnesota Issues
Legal Age in Minnesota
This guide is provided as an introduction to legal age laws in Minnesota.
There are many other laws relating to age that are not mentioned here.
Furthermore, there may be additional
court cases, federal law, or local government ordinances that apply to the
subject areas that are mentioned in this guide. The information presented here
cannot substitute for competent advice from an attorney.
Getting Started on Legal Age Research:
Selected Age Provisions Relating to Youth:
The following citations are from the Minnesota Statutes unless otherwise noted.
- Adult Prosecution: 609.055
- Body Piercing: 325F.814
145A.05, subdivision 7a,
states that a county board may adopt an ordinance establishing a county wide
curfew for unmarried persons under 18 years of age.
- Drinking Age:
Prior to 1973, the drinking age was the age of legal adulthood (age of majority), which was 21 (Minnesota Statutes 1971, section 645.45).
In 1973, the age of majority was lowered from 21 to 18. This dropped the drinking age to 18 (Laws of Minnesota 1973, chapter 725, effective
June 1, 1973). The legal drinking age was raised to 19 in 1976 (Laws of Minnesota 1976, chapter 66, effective September 1, 1976). The drinking
age was raised to the current age of 21 in 1986 (Laws of Minnesota 1986,
chapter 330). It included a grandfather clause: persons who were 19 years old
by September 1, 1986 were treated as 21 year olds for liquor law purposes.
Candidates for public office:
Additional information on elections (Minnesota Secretary of State)
Emancipation of a Minor:
Emancipation means that a minor has the same legal rights and obligations
as an 18-year-old adult. The Minnesota Statutes do not provide either the grounds
or a procedure for emancipation. Minnesota case law has established that a minor
can be emancipated by a legal marriage or by parental consent. For additional
information see, Youth and
the Law: A Guide for Legislators, p. 48-49.
Fishing and Hunting
Additional information on Minnesota's fishing and hunting laws:
Additional information on Minnesota's gambling laws:
- Consent for self when living apart from parents and managing financial affairs: 144.341
- Marriage or giving birth, consent for health service for self or child: 144.342
- Pregnancy, venereal disease, alcohol or drug abuse, abortion: 144.343
- Emergency treatment: 144.344
- For additional information see, Minors'
Consent for Health Care, by the Minnesota House Research Department.
Minnesota Statutes 645.451
provides general definitions of the terms minor, adult,
minority, majority, legal age, and full age.
Motor Vehicles (Licenses, Operation, & Registration):
On-Road & Farm Vehicles:
Off-Road & Recreational:
Additional information on Minnesota motor vehicle laws:
Sexual Conduct (Criminal):
Greenblatt, Alan. "What is the Age of Responsibility? From Sex to Driving to Juvenile Justice to Drinking, State and Local Laws Send Young People Mixed Messages About Their Own maturity. Is There a Better Way? " Governing, October 2009, p. 24-31.
Additional Library Resources:
For historical information, check the following codes in the Newspaper Clipping
File and the Vertical File:
A9 (Age-Legal), A9.2 (Age-Legal-Liquor), A10 (Age & Employment), E44.18
(Employment-Youth), M124.2 (Motor Vehicle Drivers-Age)