KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) A craze of tattooing underage teenagers is running through East Tennessee, and a local lawyer says the penalties could be severe for the artist.
Stan Young with the Bell, Young and Moore Law Firm said that the law could come down hard on those who are caught violating Health Department regulations when it comes to tattooing.
Young laid out the least to most severe types of violations, starting with an artist giving a tattoo without a license.
"That's a Class A misdemeanor that could get someone up to six months in jail," Young explained.
The next level is someone who tattoos a minor. In Tennessee, you have to be 18 to get a tattoo. The only way to not be 18 and get a tattoo legally, is to have a parent or legal guardian give permission, and only if the new tattoo is to cover up an existing tattoo.
Giving a minor a tattoo can land someone up to one year behind bars with a fine up to $2,500.
But if a person uses dirty needles or doesn't use new ink every time they tattoo a different person, that becomes a felony charge with a possibility of 15 years in the state penitentiary. It could also mean the person has to register as a sex offender.
"So on top of the laws that are in the books for tattooing minors...you could also be charged and punished with the laws that are in the books for criminal exposure," Young said.