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legal age

n. the age at which a person is responsible for his/her own actions (including the capacity to enter into a contract which is enforceable by the other party), for damages for negligence or intentional wrongs without a parent being liable and for punishment as an adult for a crime. In almost all states the basic legal age is 18, which is the universal American voting age under the 26th Amendment to the Constitution, ratified in 1971. The national legal age for drinking or buying alcoholic beverages is 21. Marriage with or without parental consent, driving, prosecution for crimes, the right to choose an abortion and liability for damages vary from state to state.

See also: infancy  juvenile court  minority 

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The People's Law Dictionary by Gerald and Kathleen Hill Publisher Fine Communications

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