In the Commonwealth of Virginia, there are laws that govern tattooing, just like there are laws that cover barbering, cosmetology, nail care, waxing, body-piercing, or esthetics.
Is it illegal to tattoo without a license?
Is it illegal to tattoo yourself?
Can 15-year-olds get tattoos?
The tattoo laws in Virginia are pretty straightforward, and we answer most questions about the legality of giving and receiving tattoos in this blog post.
There are two types of tattooing licenses: one for the individual tattoo artist, and one for the establishment where the tattoos are given.
If you are a tattoo artist in Virginia, or if you are giving tattoos at all to anyone, you must be licensed. There are no exceptions to this rule.
To obtain a tattoo license in Virginia, contact the Board for Barbers and Cosmetology. There are training and skill requirements you must meet before you can obtain a license.
If you run a place of business that offers tattoos as a service, your business/tattoo parlor must have a license. However, if you are the owner but not a tattoo artist, you don’t need to also possess a tattoo artist license.
Licenses do not automatically transfer from state to state, so do not assume that just because you are licensed in another state, you are free to practice tattooing in Virginia.
Rules and regulations concerning the transfer of your license from another state can also be found on the website of the Board for Barbers and Cosmetology.
If you are caught tattooing without a license in Virginia, you will be subject to a Class 1 Misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to 1 year in jail or a fine of up to $2,500.
At what age can you get a tattoo with parental consent?
The tattoo age in Virginia is 18.
However, Virginia tattoo laws state that if you are a minor (under 18 years old, of any age) in Virginia, you are allowed to get a tattoo with your parent’s/guardian’s permission, and your parent or guardian must be present at the time of the tattoo.
If you are a tattoo artist and give a tattoo to a minor without parental/guardian consent, you could be found guilty of a Class 1 Misdemeanor. The exception to this rule is if the tattoo is given by a medical doctor or registered nurse as part of a medical procedure.
See the full text of the Virginia tattoo law here.
Many of our readers ask, in what states can you get a tattoo at 16? At the time of this writing, the answer is Florida, Idaho (where the legal age is 14), Kansas, Louisiana, and New Jersey.
However, most states make provisions where parental consent is granted. For more complete information on each state, see this wikipedia article.
UNIVERSAL PRECAUTION REQUIREMENTS
Any person giving a tattoo in Virginia must follow the CDC’s “Universal Blood and Body Precautions.” Tattoo artists must also provide clients with certain disclaimers about the risk of infection, certain allergies, and the use of anaesthesia during the tattoo procedure.
Anyone caught violating this law can be found guilty of the same thing as the penalty for tattooing without a license: a Class 1 Misdemeanor. For the full text of the law and all of the disclaimers, see the Virginia State Code.
Tattoos are considered to be works of art and are subject to copyright laws just as all works of art are. While it is unlikely that anyone will be sued for using a popular symbol or logo, there have been cases of tattoo artists in Virginia suing each other for copying each other’s unique designs.
If you are unsure if you or another artist has violated copyright laws by giving certain tattoos, you should consult Cook Attorneys. We have skilled, local defense attorneys who can help with any copyright case.
Is it illegal to tattoo yourself without a license? The law does not make exceptions to the rules if you are tattooing yourself instead of someone else. You still need to be licensed, follow universal precautions, be 18 or older, and follow copyright laws.
The laws surrounding tattoos in the Commonwealth of Virginia are mostly straightforward. However, if you have been charged with a tattoo violation, or if you know that a tattoo artist has given tattoos illegally or in an illegal manner, do not hesitate to contact Cook Attorneys in Harrisonburg, VA.
We provide excellent criminal defense as well as free consultations.
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