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Curfew Laws

Curfew laws prohibit or limit your right to be out in public at certain times and are intended to maintain a certain level of order and safety in public spaces. Most curfew laws apply only to juveniles under the age of 18, while other curfew laws are enacted temporarily in response to a natural disaster or civil disturbance (and apply to all people in a city or local area), such as when martial law is invoked. This subsection includes articles on common juvenile curfew laws, legal challenges to curfew violation charges, a list of curfew laws in the 25 most populous U.S. cities, and more

Curfew Law Exceptions

Many curfew ordinances require juveniles to be home by a certain, prescribed hour. Curfew applies to any public space, such as streets, parks, highways, and schools. Curfew also applies to public establishments, such as movie theaters, restaurants, and bowling alleys. Teens accompanied by a parent or guardian may be out after these deadlines. Additional exceptions include if the juvenile is with a parent, guardian or other responsible adult, at work or in the process of going to or coming from home or work, involved in an emergency, going to, attending, or coming home from a supervised school, church, or recreational activity or in front of his/her own residence.

Business and Emergency Curfew Laws

In some cities, business curfew laws restrict the operating hours of certain public establishments, such as grocery stores, restaurants, and liquor stores. Typically, businesses curfews do not apply to late-night pharmacies and bars, but are applicable to restaurants, liquor stores, and other establishments where people may gather.

Emergency curfews are usually temporary orders that are put in place -- by federal, state, or local government -- in response to a particular crisis, like a natural disaster or ongoing civil disturbance. Emergency curfew laws can be placed on minors and adults alike.

Legal Challenges to Juvenile Curfew Laws

Curfew ordnances have been around for well over a century. Curfews were first used to curb the actions of young people in Omaha in 1880. They have been in effect for decades in many municipalities, including Chicago, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, St. Louis and San Francisco. Despite their popularity with local governments, existing studies One little evidence to support the notion that curfews are effective at reducing crime. Challenges have been mounted to some curfew laws on the basis that they violate juveniles' First Amendment rights to free speech and association

Hiring a Criminal Defense Attorney

Watching your child get in trouble with the law can be extremely nerve-wracking and heart breaking. Obtaining a criminal defense lawyer can offer your child the chance to prove his or her innocence. Your attorney can try to convince a probation officer not to request a juvenile petition to be filed, can request a minor's release, can convince the District Attorney not to file charges in the first place, can request that probation is informally supervised without filing a petition, can convince the District Attorney to file a lesser charge, can suggest a rehabilitation program as probation for your child, and can fight to have your child acquitted of any charges in trial.

Learn About Curfew Laws