Whether the country is run by a strong intellectual or by a very tanned moron, the United States is still, without a doubt, one of the best places in the world to live in, thanks to all the freedoms and opportunities that the country has to offer. When it comes to global affairs, the U.S. has a massive footprint, from a military, economic, technological, philanthropic, and social perspective. So, it should come as no surprise that many countries try to emulate the U.S. in a variety of ways. The U.S. did not become such a powerful nation overnight, though, as it took a lot of work to get there, and one of the only reasons why citizens were able to put in so much work was because they knew that the entire country functioned under the rule of law.
There are those in the U.S. who believe that there are simply too many laws. Although that is true to some extent, most of the laws are there to ensure the safety of the citizens and to make sure that criminals receive the punishments that they deserve. It is true that the U.S. justice system is not fair at times, but the fact of the matter is most of the time, it does indeed work, especially when it comes to protecting minors from a myriad of potentially dangerous situations. Throughout the U.S., there are age restrictions placed on many things, including voting, driving, alcohol consumption, legal marijuana use, and consent regarding intercourse. Not all laws apply to individual states, though, who have the right to set their own laws, which sometimes means ignoring perceived underage laws. This list will name 15 states that do not adhere to the traditional underage limits.
15. New Jersey – Party Scene
In terms of size, the state of New Jersey is very small, but that does not keep the state from having a fairly vibrant party scene, especially since it is home to Atlantic City, which is known for its casinos, beaches, and boardwalks. The state is also home to the Jersey Shore, a coastal region that is known for its partying lifestyle, especially in the summer. And from 2009 to 2012, we got a look at this party scene, thanks to MTV’s reality show of the same name. Granted, not all New Jersey parties turn out like the ones shown on the show, but some do, which is not all that surprising considering that young people, especially teenagers, tend to do dumb things after drinking too much. In New Jersey, you do not need to be 21 in order to drink because the state is one of six that allow minors to drink on private premises without parental consent.
14. Arizona – Party Lifestyle
During the summer, there are several U.S. states that become unbearably hot, and Arizona happens to be one of them. In fact, it is so hot in Arizona that it is one of several states with an actual desert within its borders. When it comes to partying, however, extreme heat apparently does not matter because college kids in the state love to party, and the state is home to some big colleges like Arizona State University. Anyone who has gone to college in the state knows that nearly every single student drinks when they go to a party, regardless of how old they are. And generally, the police will leave them be as long as they do not do anything too dumb. But, there is another more legal way for kids to drink alcohol without being 21 in Arizona and that would be to say that drinking alcohol is a part of their religion.
13. Kansas – Driver’s License
There are those who say that driving a car is easy. And from a technical standpoint, they are right. But, driving a car requires a lot of responsibility and attention because you are never the only person on the road. Cars get into accidents all the time, either due to a freak sequence of events or because one or more drivers were either not paying attention or impaired in some way. And although people of all ages get into accidents, young people are much more likely to get into them. In today’s world, virtually every single teenager in the U.S. is glued to their phone, to the point that they do not see where they are going, which is why it is especially dangerous to have someone under the age of 18 behind the wheel of a car. In the state of Kansas, 14-year-olds are permitted to get a driver’s license, as long as it is to get to and from work. But even so, 14 is far too young to be driving.
12. Florida – Party Lifestyle
Whenever something truly outrageous occurs in the U.S., many people just assume that it happened in Florida, mainly because the state has proven time and time again that it is home to some very strange people. As far out there as Florida may appear, it is one of the country’s more popular party states, thanks to its generally warm climate, colleges, and numerous beaches, and in the summer, the partying lifestyle kicks into overdrive when tourist season begins. You can find tons of pictures online of Florida residents and students partying on beaches. And considering that all of those people are wearing swimsuits, it is hard for police to actually get IDs, so they generally will not stop the drinking of alcohol unless they know for a fact that the majority of people present are underage. In Florida, though, the underage limit actually does not apply to certain students, such as those in culinary school.
11. North Dakota – Driver’s Licence
For decades, parents have been giving their teenagers cars for their birthday, which in it of itself is a very great gift. But just because it is a great gift, does not mean that it is a smart gift, considering how immature teenagers usually are. It makes sense for an 18-year old to have a driver’s license, seeing as they are now legal adults. But, 16-year olds just cannot be trusted behind the wheel due to their limited attention spans, and if that is the case, then a 14-year-old should definitely not be driving. In North Dakota, though, just like Kansas, you can get a driver’s license at 14. But unlike Kansas, the car needs to be owned by your parents if you want to drive it, and you cannot exceed the capacity suggested by the vehicle’s manufacturer, and you cannot drive between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. unless you are going to church, school, or work.
10. Colorado – Loop Holes
The state of Colorado is rather unique from a geographical perspective, seeing as it contains the Rocky Mountains and several National Parks, but the state also tends to be situated at a higher elevation, which can be felt by anyone who travels there. Aside from being a state with a healthy sports culture, Colorado is also one of only eight states in which both medical and recreational use of Mary-Jane is legal. But even though recreational use is legal, there is still an age limit placed on use. The same cannot really be said about alcohol, though, because although the legal drinking age is 21, the state offers several loop holes for underage drinkers to take advantage of. Colorado will, in fact, allow underage drinking as long as the individual has parental consent or if they can make the case that the alcohol is being consumed for either educational, religious, or medical purposes.
9. South Dakota – Underage Limits Matter A Bit Less
We have already spoken about North Dakota. But this time, we will be talking about that state’s southern sibling, South Dakota; a place where the underage limits matter a bit less. Just like its sibling, South Dakota, for some reason believes that it is a good idea to give 14-year-olds a driver’s license, with the only real exception being that the teenager cannot be on the road between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. In North Dakota, they understand the need to protect youths, which is why the age of consent there is 18. But in South Dakota, they believe that 16-year-olds are more than capable of being able to decide whether or not they want to be intimate with someone much older than they are. The state has no real close-in-age exceptions. Although, if such a relationship is found to be taking place, the older individual will face some penalties, which becomes fairly less severe the younger that individual happens to be.
8. Nebraska – Parental Consent
Right in the middle of the United States, you will find the state of Nebraska, which is not only completely landlocked but also very flat, as the entire state is basically filled with rolling hills and vast plains. Now, Nebraska may sound very rural to some people, but in truth, the state has a fairly vibrant party scene, thanks primarily to its colleges, which offer very entertaining football and basketball games. Like all other states, the college students in Nebraska love to party, and many of those parties of course have underage drinking, which for the most part is allowed to take place as long as no trouble ensues. There is another reason why police do not usually get involved, and that would be because people under 21 are allowed to drink with parental consent and without that consent while in a private area. They can also drink if there is a religious or medical reason.
7. Oklahoma – Parental Consent
Just below Nebraska, we have the state of Oklahoma, which is known for its small mountain ranges, eastern forests, and great plains, which explains why it is a state known for producing oil, natural gas, and agricultural products. Oklahoma is just like Nebraska in the sense that the state is very rural in nature. But thanks primarily to college sports, the young people in the state love to throw a good party. Someone in Oklahoma who is under 21 will be allowed to drink as long they have consent from a parent, but they do not even need that consent as long as they are in some kind of private area. That is not the only underage limit that does not really apply in Oklahoma, though, as the legal age of consent is 16, with the only real exception being that the older party cannot be employed by the state’s school system.
6. Alaska – Driver’s License At 14
In terms of geography, Alaska is the Northernmost state, which means that it is not only the coldest state but also one of the most remote and densely populated; things that really limit the amount of partying that can be done. In Alaska, they neglect several perceived legal ages, with one being the drinking age, as any willing minor can drink as long as they have some form of parental consent. Although Alaska has a relatively small population, there are still a lot of young people there who want to drive their own car, and luckily for them, they do not have to wait that long, as you can get a driver’s license at 14 there. But at least you have to wait until 16 to be able to drive with passengers under 21 and to drive between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m.. In Alaska, the age of consent happens to be 16, with the only exception being that the older person cannot be in a position of authority.
5. South Carolina – 16 (Literally No Exceptions)
South Carolina has had a very checkered past ever since it became the first state in 1860 to secede from the country just prior to the American Civil War. And to this day, the state continues to deal with racially charged incidents from time to time. For all the social problems that the state has, no one can say that South Carolina is an ugly state devoid of fun, as you can very easily find a party going on, especially on a college campus. The state is actually home to a lot of young people, who are pretty much all capable of traveling on their own seeing as you only need to be 15 to get a driver’s license. But, they have to be 16 in order to be able to drive between 6 p.m. and midnight. In South Carolina, the age of consent is just 16, with literally no exceptions, and it is alright for someone under 21 to drink in a private setting without having to ask a parent.
4. West Virginia – Position Of Authority?
West Virginia is the second smallest state to appear on this list, and as it currently stands, it has the second lowest household income of all the 50 states. But, those two things have not stopped those within the state from enjoying themselves. Obviously, there is a lot of underage drinking going on in West Virginia, even though it is one of only a few states that completely prohibit underage drinking with no exceptions whatsoever. But, that is not the reason why this state is on the list. The state allows 15-year-olds to get a driver’s license, but those individuals have to wait until they are 16 to be able to drive from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. and to drive with passengers who are younger than 19. West Virginia also believes that the age of consent should be below 18, as a 16-year-old can be in a relationship with a much older person, no matter if they are in a position of authority or not.
3. Louisiana – Party Lifestyle
If you were to ask a local or a tourist what they thought about Louisiana, they would probably say that it is one of the best states to live in and visit, mainly because of the great food available and because of the amazing city of New Orleans. Louisiana knows how to throw a party, as evidenced by the annual Carnival celebration known as Mardi Gras, which is famous for having a lot of beads and A LOT more drinking. To start things off, the age of consent in the state is 17, with no exceptions, and it also gives licenses to 15-year-olds. But at least there exists a rule that prohibits them from driving unless there is another licensed driver in the car who is over 21. What is really interesting about Louisiana is that it is one of only half a dozen states that allows underage drinking in private areas without any kind of consent, which is mind-boggling considering all the partying that goes on in the state.
2. Michigan – Age Restrictions For Intimacy
As we get older, there are certain things that we all want to do, and one of those things is the ability to be intimate with another person, which almost always occurs when an individual finally reaches puberty. Intimacy may sound and appear to be fun, but there is a lot more to the act than just fun, as some people might find themselves pressured or forced into intimacy because of their age and/or surroundings. When it comes to intimacy, everyone can agree that there should be age restrictions in place in order to protect young people who can be easily influenced by older individuals, which is why the general age of consent in the U.S. is 18, but in some states, that is not the case. In Michigan, the age of consent is 16, with no close-in-age exceptions, which means that a 40-year old can in fact be intimate with a 16-year-old, unless the 40-year-old is in a position of authority.
1. Nevada – Sin City
We end this list with the great state of Nevada, which has managed to become a huge tourist destination despite the fact that the state mostly consists of a desert landscape. Everyone knows that Nevada is home to Las Vegas, an internationally-known resort city that is renowned for its gambling, fine dining, shopping, entertainment, and night life. Vegas is also known as Sin City, and when a state’s most important city goes by that name, then it should come as no surprise that Nevada itself is a bit loose on the rules. For instance, the legal age of consent in the state is 16, with absolutely no exceptions, which would not be that big of a deal if pr*stitution was not semi-legal as well. Nevada also does not mind if people under 21 want to drink because not only can minors have alcohol if a parent says they can, they can also go anywhere private to drink without having to tell their parents.
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