Q: Girlfriend doesnt want to go home but she is a minor. Can the boyfriend get into trouble?

My cousin is 18 and his girlfriend is a minor. She doesnt want to go home but instead stay with him. Can my cousin still get into trouble even tho it's her choice?

2 Lawyer Answers
Anthony M. Avery
Anthony M. Avery
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Knoxville, TN
  • Licensed in Tennessee

A: Absolutely

Brandon D. Fersten
Brandon D. Fersten
Answered
  • Juvenile Law Lawyer
  • Knoxville, TN
  • Licensed in Tennessee

A: Whether your cousin can get in trouble or convicted for allowing his girlfriend to stay with him depends on a few factors. To start, it is a class A misdemeanor to harbor or hide a minor, with knowledge that the child is a runaway, if your cousin either (1) fails to notify the child's parents, or law enforcement of the whereabouts of the child within a reasonable amount of time, usually this must be done in less than 24 hours; (2) conceals the whereabouts of the minor; or (3) aides the child in escaping from the custody of the child's parents.

As such, whether your cousin can get convicted of harboring a minor depends on (1) whether his girlfriend has consent to be there - it sounds like she does not; (2) whether his girlfriend has consent to be there - it sounds like she does not and therefore she would be considered a runaway; (3) whether he notifies his girlfriend's parents of her whereabouts.

In short, to avoid the possibility of getting into trouble by getting charged, your cousin should at the very least contact his girlfriend's parents. This would avoid the possibility of him getting into trouble for harboring a runaway. If the parents call the police to report your cousin's girlfriend as a runaway and your cousin does not notify her parents of her whereabouts within a reasonable amount of time, he may be charged with harboring a runaway.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.