Juvenile curfew laws are ordinances within a city, county, and state that forbid minors—those under 18 years of age—to roam around the city streets on their own or stay inside business establishments without their parents or guardians with them. The law is pretty basic and that means no minor must be found loitering streets and alleys at a certain time, usually between 10 pm to 6 am, depending upon the city or state. But, the same rule applies – if these minors are caught, there will be penalties and punishments.
Why is curfew necessary?
Crimes involving teenagers are at an all-time high. These teenagers get into trouble when they are out at night with their so-called friends, their “crew,” and the “gang.” And, in order to control incidents involving minors, this curfew was practiced country-wide. The point here is to save these children from getting harmed. That is the main agenda as to why major cities in the US enforce this law.
It cannot be denied that some parents are not at home at night to supervise their children. Most of the time, it’s not their fault – they work 2 to 3 jobs to support their kids, and these are single parents who are sacrificing everything to put food on the table and a roof over their heads. Life is never easy and dealing with angry teens, who feel that their parents don’t love them because they are always away, tend to act out. So, they leave the house and have fun with the wrong people. Sadly, these teens end up being involved in crimes, like robbery, rape, or worse, murder. Juvenile curfew is a solution so that the behavior of these deviant teens will be curbed.
Is there an exemption to the law?
It will depend on a case-to-case basis. But, if a list is put, there are five exempted activities wherein a minor is allowed to be out at night:
- If the minor is with a parent or an adult guardian, then, this is exempted from the rule.
- Some minors work nights and if your child is one, this can be an exemption. If the minor is caught going to or leaving his place of work, then, the reason for staying out late is acceptable and also non-punishable. The police will have to verify on this, though.
- School functions or religious events that finish way past curfew is also exempted.
- There are minors who go out at night as instructed by their parents, like for an important errand – this can be an exemption too. It will be checked by the police, as well.
- Emergencies, like going out at night to bring someone who is hurt to the hospital, are also a ground for curfew laws exemption.
As earlier stated, it will be a case to case basis, depending upon the situation. But, for any other reason, if a minor is caught after curfew, his Miranda rights will be read and appropriate punishment is imminent.
What are these punishments?
Violators to the curfew laws will be fined accordingly. They will also be required to either pay penalties through community service or enroll in a curfew class. It could also be an after-school program provided for kids who violate the curfew laws. Driving privileges will also be limited once a minor is apprehended. If the teen is a repeat offender, there is a very big possibility that he will be jailed or detained in a juvenile center. (Jail time will be for minors who are extremely deviant.) In some places, the parents are also penalized if they are aware that their kids are roaming the streets. This means intentional neglect.
Juvenile curfew laws are in place for the protection of your children and to promote a community of peace and harmony. If ever your teen is caught violating the curfew laws, try your very best as a parent to keep that from happening again. What your kids do and how they behave is partly an effect of your parenting style. You need to make your kids understand the value of the curfew law. It is there so that they will be protected.