Legally, a minor is a person who has not yet reached the age where they are considered legal adults and assume the responsibilities of being an adult. The specific definition of what constitutes a minor changes based on the situation and the location, but the general age that a minor becomes an adult is 18.
There are instances where the age is raised to 21, such as for the consumption of alcohol. A person who is 20 years old has the legal obligations of an adult, but is considered a minor if they attempt to purchase alcohol. The legal age for many activities is set at the local level, which leads to variation from area to area within the United States.
For example, the age to be married without parental consent is 18 in both North Dakota and New York, but the age to be married with parental consent is 14 in North Dakota and 17 in New York. In Maryland, teenagers can get married at age 16 with parental consent, but at age 18 without consent.
When it comes to criminal responsibility, being a minor is less important that being considered a juvenile. Depending on the age and circumstances surrounding a crime, a person under the age of 18 may be tried as an adult or in juvenile court.
A Columbia, Maryland family law attorney can provide more information on the matter.