This is a common question asked by youth who contact the National Runaway Safeline. So let’s answer this question in a couple of…

This is a common question asked by youth who contact the National Runaway Safeline. So let’s answer this question in a couple of pieces.


Generally speaking, it is not illegal to runaway. In most states, running away is a considered a status offense. A status offense is an act if committed by an adult would not be a crime. The following is a list of the five major categories of status offenses:

  • • truancy: unexcused absences from school
  • • running away: leaving home without permission
  • • incorrigibility: behaviors that are uncontrollable by parents
  • • violation of curfew laws: staying outside between a certain time frame
  • • violation of underage liquor laws: this varies between a criminal and civil offense depending on state



The age of majority or age legally recognized as an adult is 18 years in most states. However, there are a few states where it’s 19 or even 21 years of age. Generally speaking, status offenses will go off of your record once you reach the age of majority. Note: even when you are under the age of majority, only law enforcement agencies can determine if you are a runaway or not. You do not have to worry about schools or jobs seeing that on your record because it’s not considered a criminal offense.


So back to the question if a runaway report will remain on your record after turning 18 – no, if the age of majority is 18 in your state. If you have more questions, you can always give us a call at 1-800-RUNAWAY (1-800-786-2929) and we are willing to assist you contact your local law enforcement agency to make sure.


– Dyanne

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