Here is what I have gathered so far about the legality of wand use:

  1. Underage magic is expressly forbidden, except when receiving magical instruction. This probably includes home-schooling (like Ariana Dumbledore).
  2. Some expulsions from a magical academy (like Hagrid's expulsion) can result in the breaking of your wand and apparently a ban on future use of one.
  3. Drop-outs like Fred and George, and other expulsions like Newt don't necessarily result in a ban on magic.
  4. Criminals who are later released from Azkaban may have their wands restored to them, or at least don't get their wands destroyed upon incarceration. Bellatrix's wand along with many other Death Eaters' wands were not destroyed as evidenced by their use of them after escape/release, though that may just be a privilege of the rich, connected, and the later because the government was corrupt.

So how does this work exactly? Hagrid didn't necessarily have his wand broken because he committed a criminal act, but maybe it was a combination of that and his age. Or that and the fact that he had not, and would not, receive sufficient magical instruction. Is there some definitive line we can draw that indicates when someone will be allowed to regularly use magic and where someone won't? Additionally, can we assume that in all cases of a permanent ban on magic, the charged will have their wands broken, assuming the authorities can obtain the wand and due justice is served?

  • Underage magic is not that much forbidden, Harry blows his aunt and minister counts this as an accident. He casts a patronus and minister now organizes court hearing. It depends on Fudge’s relation with Harry Jun 29, 2018 at 23:58

1 Answer 1


When they turn seventeen (presumably with a level of training).

The law against underage magic forbids wizards from using magic while outside of school (presumably a homeschool would count as allowed) until they turn seventeen.

“And yet you conjured a Patronus on the night of the second of August?’ said Fudge.

‘Yes,’ said Harry, ‘but –’

‘Knowing that you are not permitted to use magic outside school while you are under the age of seventeen?”
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 8 (The Hearing)

Some level of training is likely required but it’s unclear how much. Hagrid was banned from continuing his magical education, and as part of that, his wand was snapped. However, it’s not required to finish all seven years at Hogwarts presuming that’s where they study - students would turn seventeen before finishing their seventh year. It seems possible that passing O.W.L.s or an equivalent exam could be the requirement - but no one is shown worrying that if they fail they can’t use magic. We don’t know much about homeschooling in magic and what if any requirements there are, so we don’t know if they’re “checked” in some way before being allowed to do magic.

Convicts seem allowed to use magic when their sentence is done.

People who are arrested and sentenced to a term in Azkaban seem to be allowed to use magic once they’ve served their term. A sentence in Azkaban doesn’t have to be a lifetime sentence (Mundungus was sentenced to six months) and once it’s done, the released person can likely continue using magic legally. It’s possible that convicts’ wands are kept even if they’re given life sentences, so on the chance that their sentence is shortened they’ll still have their own wands.

  • It really seems like Hagrid got a tough deal then. A lifetime ban on magic for an action as a child, when even convicted adult criminals are given the benefit of the doubt enough to keep their wands.
    – BlackThorn
    Jul 2, 2018 at 15:21

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