Most cities have some kind of juvenile curfew law in place, generally as a way of keeping kids out of trouble and making sure they're accounted for. Most of these laws have exceptions, such as when a minor is working late. Violations typically are limited to fines, although repeat offenses could result in a court order to perform community service, driver's license restrictions, or other penalties.
To get a basic understanding of juvenile curfew laws and penalties, review the following examples of juvenile curfew laws (and penalties) in five U.S. cities.
Under a curfew law that went into effect on October 1, 2008, unsupervised children under 17 are prohibited from being on Birmingham streets after 9:00 p.m. on weekdays, and after 11:00 p.m. on weekends. Fines for curfew violations are $500 for each offense, and parents may also be held liable for their child's curfew violations under the Birmingham law.
More information: Birmingham Curfew Law (Alabama Public Radio)
Columbus, Ohio requires children under 13 to be home between midnight and 4:30 a.m. the following day. After the first violation, the child and a parent must attend a 3-hour workshop. A second curfew violation requires the minor to perform community service, coordinated by the local YMCA. A third curfew violation could result in charges, a fine of $500, or jail time.
More information: Minor's Curfew (Columbus Code of Ordinances)
District of Columbia
In D.C., persons under 17 can't remain "in or on a street, park or other outdoor public place, in a vehicle or on the premises of any establishment" during curfew hours, subject to certain exceptions like adult-supervised activities and work. Curfew hours in D.C. are 11:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. Sunday to Thursday, and 12:01 a.m. to 6:01 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday (and every day during the months of July and August).
More information: D.C.'s Curfew Laws: Know the Facts (D.C. Metro Police Department)
Los Angeles, California
City of Los Angeles curfew laws prohibit people under 18 from being outside or in public places between 10 p.m. and sunrise, subject to a number of exceptions. Curfew violations are punishable by fines and penalty assessments that total $675, and violations may also result in community service and driver's license restrictions.
More information: City of Los Angeles Curfew Information (Los Angeles Police Department)
In Philadelphia, curfew hours vary between the school year and summer break, and between weekdays and weekends. For example, during the school year, children under 13 may not be in a public place after 9:00 p.m. on weekdays, and after 9:30 p.m. on the weekends. A first violation of Philadelphia's curfew law will result in the imposition of a $250 fine and/or community service.
More information: Philadelphia Curfew Law Summary (City of Philadelphia Department of Human Services).
Charged With a Curfew Violation? Consider Meeting With an Attorney
As you can see from the preceding examples of juvenile curfew laws and penalties, there are variations among cities and states. If you or your minor child have been cited for a juvenile curfew law violation, a skilled criminal defense attorney who specializes in juvenile law can help you navigate the juvenile justice system. Get started today by finding an experienced, local criminal defense attorney.