Many, if not all, communities have curfew laws governing juveniles. The purpose of these laws is to prevent juvenile crime and protect our youth from victimization. There appears to be an upswing in teens being stopped by the police and ultimately charged in juvenile court with Curfew Violations. According to the Centerville Ordinances, persons under the age of 18 may not remain in or upon any public place or any public establishment from 9:30 p.m. to 6:00 a.m., Monday through Thursday evenings, or 12:01 a.m. to 6:00 a.m., Friday and Saturday evenings. The statute also prohibits minors from driving around “aimlessly” during this period. There are certain exceptions to this statute. This prohibition does not apply to (1) minors accompanied by a parent, (2) minors running an errand for a parent, or (3) minors engaged in lawful employment during curfew hours.
As you may have figured out, for the police to figure out whether a particular juvenile driving or riding in a vehicle is violating the curfew statute, that officer must pull over the vehicle and contact the occupants. This may result in overzealous police conduct directed towards anyone who looks as if they may be under the age of 18, even if they are not. Many times these stops are made without probable cause. Juveniles to whom the above exceptions apply may have to deal with the inconvenience of being pulled over and not permitted to leave until they can convince the police officer that they are lawfully on the road. Centerville Police strictly enforce this statute, sometimes charging minors who have violated the statute by only several minutes. Police often use stops for Curfew Violations as pretext stops for other purposes, such as to search a vehicle and its occupants for drugs or other contraband, which could result in much more serious charges. These police searches are often conducted without the knowledge and consent of the minor’s parents.
If found responsible for the Curfew Violation, the juvenile court may place the minor on probation, order up to 175 hours of community service, suspend the minor’s driver’s license, and in extreme cases, change the custody of the minor, order the child into the custody of the court, and/or order that the minor participate in drug and alcohol or mental health counseling. A parent with the knowledge that their child is violating curfew, and where none of the above exceptions apply, may also be charged with an offense.
If you have more questions about juvenile curfew laws in Centerville, contact our experienced team of attorneys at Horwitz and Horwitz today.