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Legal for Moms to Let Kids Get a Tattoo?

By Andrew Chow, Esq. | Last updated on

A Georgia mom arrested for letting her 10-year-old son get a tattoo claims she didn't know it was illegal. But police have an inkling that's not completely true.

Chuntera Napier, of Acworth, Ga., faces charges of child cruelty and being a party to a crime in connection with her son's tattoo. "I always thought that if a parent gave consent, then it's fine," Napier told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

But when it comes to tattooing children, Georgia's law states otherwise -- and police say Napier probably knew it.

Chuntera Napier claims her son Gaquan, 10, wanted a tattoo like hers, to honor his older brother who was struck and killed by a motorist. Someone at school saw Gaquan's tattoo and called authorities, the Journal-Constitution reports.

Chuntera Napier was arrested in connection with violating a Georgia law, enacted in 2010, that prohibits tattooing anyone under 18, except by a doctor. But despite Napier's claims, she probably knew about the underage tattoo ban, Acworth's police chief told ABC News.

The chief suspects Napier first took her son to a licensed tattoo artist, but was likely turned away because of Georgia's law. Napier then took her son to get inked "illegally like a 'jail house' tattoo," he surmised.

While Napier's tattoo looks professional, her son's looks "to be the work of an amateur," the police chief said.

Georgia is not alone in outlawing tattoos on children. At least 39 states have similar laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Other states prohibit children from getting tattoos unless a parent approves. Violations could result in fines or jail time.

Chuntera Napier was released from jail, and insists she shouldn't be charged with anything related to her son's tattoo. "He's my child, and I have the right to say what I want for my child," Napier told the Journal-Constitution. Her next court hearing is set for March.

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