I’m 18. Now What?

New Rights. New Responsibilities.

Turning 18 is so exciting! You’re officially an adult now, which means some new rights and a ton of new responsibilities.

Curious what you’re in store for? Check out the Florida Bar’s Just Adulting mobile app. It explains what changes once you become an official grownup and covers topics such as signing contracts, how to attain credit, the court system, alcohol laws, employment and texting while driving.

As long as you understand all your new legal responsibilities, you can fully enjoy all your new freedoms.

Your Rights
Turning 18 means you gain the right to vote, to marry and to enter into contracts like apartment leases and credit card agreements on your own. You still can’t rent a car, but you can buy one.

Your Responsibilities
Heads up! You have way more responsibilities now that you’re an adult.

Sure, you can sign that apartment lease now. But as an official adult, you can also face serious consequences if you can’t make rent. Mom and Dad aren’t on the hook anymore for late payments; it’s all you.

Getting into trouble also carries a whole new weight as an adult. The juvenile justice system has different goals than the adult court system. With minors, the goal is usually rehabilitation and treatment. With adults, the goal is preventing future crimes. Here’s an example: Say you make a mistake, like getting into a fistfight. As a minor, you might be punished with probation or an order to attend classes. But once you’re an adult, you could face criminal charges and jail time. In the juvenile legal system, any crimes you committed as a child might be erased from your records when you turn 18. As an adult, that fistfight could be forever carved into your permanent record. For the rest of your life you may have to explain the charges to admissions officials, employers and even landlords.

Jury Duty, Who Me?
If you’re called to serve on a jury, you’ll have to serve unless you are excused for some special reason. Specific procedures vary depending on the court. Generally, a list of the names of potential jurors is chosen at random from the most recent list of registered voters and licensed drivers. Don’t ignore any mail you get from a court of law

How do I register?

  • To Vote

Visit dos.myflorida.com/elections to download a registration form. Fill it out; then send it to your county’s supervisor of elections office. The address can be found on the second page of the application.

  • For Military Service

All male U.S. citizens must register with the Selective Service System within 30 days of turning 18. Go to www.sss.gov/Home/Registration to register online or by mail.