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  1. #1
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    Apr 2017
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    Default Can an 18-Year-Old be Treated as a Runaway

    My question involves criminal law for the state of: Nebraska.

    Well im not sure if this is the right group to ask in or not but I am 18 as is my girlfriend. As many know, one becomes an adult in Nebraska at age 19 as opposed to most other states where 18 is the legal adult age.

    To cut the story short, about a week ago, she told her parents she was leaving with me to live a few miles away. I was releived after a few days to see that her parents did not report her as a run away.

    It wasn't until tonight that her parents showed up at my house and reported her on run. When I arrived at home to 6 officers at my house demanding that she return to her parents, I began to think heavily about leaving with her to another state (maybe Kansas) or really anywhere that the age of "adulthood" is 18. Although it would be difficult, I know we could get temporary jobs and could return home here in Nebraska when she turned 19.

    If we don't go to another state and become "adults" I won't be allowed to even speak to her because of her parents.

    I understand the risk of a new life in a new state with no friends .... well now that I think about it.... I have family in Colorado.

    I guess my questions are:

    1. Is it legal for me (18) to take my gf (18) from Nebraska (where legal age is 19) to another state where it's 18?

    2. Would it be considered kidnapping?

    3. Could she still be called on run /missing?

    4. Are there any other legal aspects I need to cover before I plan a yes or no?

    thank you for your help in solving my dilemma

  2. #2
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    Nov 2015
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    Default Re: 18 Year Old Running Away to Another State

    6 cops? Hm...what exactly did the parents report?

    In any event even if you and the Gf flee to another state it won't eliminate the minor int eh legal state of residence issue. What that means is that she'll still be considered a runaway.

    Running away is a status offense in NE for the runaway. This means that the police can be involved and bring the child home. Additionally anyone who provides shelter for a runaway or interferes with the retrieval of said runaway for more than a few hours and the runaway doesn't return home intact can be charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Leaving the state can certainly up the ante and she'll show potentially show up as a missing person.

    What all of this boils down to is that your plan is a terrible plan. You're already harboring a runaway and encouraging her to not return home. In NE that is a crime. It's possible that the fact that you're also a minor will provide some mitigation but of that I can't be sure.
    "Where do those stairs go?"
    "They go up!"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    7,872

    Default Re: 18 Year Old Running Away to Another State

    Here's another idea that is less likely to make you run afoul of the law: You guys take a little break until she's 19. If it's true love, it can wait less than a year.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
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    2,289

    Default Re: 18 Year Old Running Away to Another State

    Yes the age of majority in Nebraska is 19 which I didn't even know and I'm from there. Here's the statute on persons under 19 in Nebraska: http://nebraskalegislature.gov/laws/...tatute=43-2101

    All persons under nineteen years of age are declared to be minors, but in case any person marries under the age of nineteen years, his or her minority ends. Upon becoming the age of majority, a person is considered an adult and acquires all rights and responsibilities granted or imposed by statute or common law, except that a person eighteen years of age or older and who is not a ward of the state may enter into a binding contract or lease of whatever kind or nature and shall be legally responsible therefor.

    Or try reading this: http://www.nebarfnd.org/images/pdf/a...y_2014_Apr.pdf

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Can an 18-Year-Old be Treated as a Runaway

    A minor you both may be in Nebraska, but should you go to Colorado it is extremely unlikely that the state would force you to return to Nebraska since in Colorado you are an adult and I think it unlikely that the courts of Colorado would defer to Nebraska on that one. If she goes with you voluntarily it certainly isn't kidnapping and I do not see any other crime occurring here.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Can an 18-Year-Old be Treated as a Runaway

    In Nebraska, the age of majority is nineteen, but in terms of the Juvenile code, "Juvenile means any person under the age of eighteen". See Nebraska Statutes, Sec. 43-245(2), (11). Consistent with that latter definition, a juvenile court in Nebraska has no jurisdiction over a minor who is alleged to have committed a status offense (such as running away) after the age of 18. (If the person was already under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court for a different reason, jurisdiction may continue with the court's being permitted to restrict the minor's place of residence, pursuant to the prior court proceeding -- but in the absence of such a prior, continuing juvenile court case, the juvenile court would be without jurisdiction.)

    Similarly, contributing to the delinquency of a child under the criminal code defines a child as "under eighteen years of age". Neb. Stat. Sec. 28-709. The custodial interference statute similarly applies only in relation to the custody of a minor "under the age of eighteen years". Neb. Stat. Sec. 28-316.

    I'll go a step beyond Taxing Matters, and state that I see no chance of Colorado forcing a person whom that state regards as an adult to return to the custody of a parent in a different state or country; but more than that, I'm not seeing any basis in Nebraska law to compel an 18-year-old to live with a parent.

    Given that the police were involved, and particularly given the number that were dispatched, I would want to know the full facts and exactly what it is that the parents alleged before suggesting that the 18-year-old is not somehow restricted from moving out. Sometimes, for reasons that may not be known or fully known to a dating partner, a young adult will remain under parental control past the age of majority -- for example, due to a developmental disability or mental illness. Also, I can't rule out the possibility that the young woman at issue remains on juvenile court probation from an incident not known to the OP, or is otherwise subject to the jurisdiction of the juvenile court.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Can an 18-Year-Old be Treated as a Runaway

    I didn't catch a key part of that statute regarding definition of a minor. So, then why bother defining the age of majority as 19? Seems to leave a mystery year of unknown status. I'd still say that this is a terrible idea, one that will cause you nothing but problems.

    And I stick by my comments regarding the number of cops that showed up at your door and what, exactly, they were told.
    "Where do those stairs go?"
    "They go up!"

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
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    2

    Default Re: Can an 18-Year-Old be Treated as a Runaway

    Thank you all so much for your help. Obviously the simplest thing to do would be to wait 11 months for her to turn 19, however, if there is a way I dont have to wait a year then I would like to go that route. I appreciate all the feedback, and will probably be moving in the beginning of May. I guess the only question I have left is:

    Would it be okay for me to take her out of state, or should I tell her to get an uber and meet up with her outside NE. Of course if I can get her without her parents seeing my vehicle I would like to do that, however, if there is a law that endangers me if I do that, then I'd obviously like to go the safe route.

    She has done nothing illegal, has no mental illness, nor has she ever been subject to the jurisdiction of the juvenile court. I dont think she's ever even gotten a speeding ticket! Haha

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Can an 18-Year-Old be Treated as a Runaway

    Please read what I wrote, above.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Can an 18-Year-Old be Treated as a Runaway

    You might be able to challenge this in federal court. I believe federal law says you're an adult when you turn 18 with some exceptions such as with alcohol in which you're not an adult until you're 21, so you might be able to challenge Nebraska's law in federal court and get it struck down.

    As for leaving the state and going to a state where you're an adult at 18 Im not sure about that. I seriously doubt it would be kidnapping since she's going willingly, as for being declared runaways I suppose that would be a possibility although Im not exactly sure. If you do cross state lines it can be much trickier for the authorities to find you even if you are declared runaways.

    Quote Quoting Hottinator
    View Post
    Obviously the simplest thing to do would be to wait 11 months for her to turn 19, however, if there is a way I dont have to wait a year then I would like to go that route. I appreciate all the feedback, and will probably be moving in the beginning of May.
    I would not recommend waiting 11 months. There is no reason you two should be apart for 11 months and every month, week, and day counts. If you wait 11 months that's 11 months you will never get back. Once they're gone they're gone. Enjoy being 18 while you still can and get the most out of it.

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