Are you thinking about running away? Unsure if running away is against the law? Learn more about the laws in the US here.

Is Running Away Illegal? Will I Go to Jail if I Run Away? - National Runaway Safeline

photo by MIchelle B via flickr

Is running away against the law?

Are you thinking about running away? Are you worried about staying with a friend and getting your friend or their parents into trouble? Does it matter if you’re reported as a runaway or not?

Deciding on whether or not to run away and where to go can be difficult.

Here’s what you should know:

– In most states, running away is not against the law.
– If you leave home without permission or stay away longer than you’re supposed to, your parents can file you as a runaway.
– If you are under the age of majority (18 in most states), your parents can file you as a runaway.
– If you are staying at a friend’s house or somewhere your parents didn’t give you permission to be, they can face possibly legal consequences.
– If you are filed as a runaway, your parents can press charges against those allowing you stay with them or abiding you.
– If you go to a youth shelter, generally they have to contact your parents within a certain amount of time to obtain consent for your stay.
– If you are staying with a friend, in most cases the police are only allowed to do a courtesy check; meaning not allowed to search your friend’s home without a warrant.
– It is always best to check with your local non-emergency police hotline or legal aid when it comes to specifics because the law varies.

Hopefully, the information listed here answered some of the questions you may have had. If not, you can give us a call and we can help.


– Dyanne

Update: Want to know more about the runaway laws in your state? Find your state below:

Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Arizona

Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana

West Virginia, Virginia, North & South Carolina, Georgia and Florida

Vermont, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania


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