What Is The Curfew Law For Teenagers 17 & Under In California?

Written by J. Hirby and Fact Checked by The Law Dictionary Staff  

<p>California does not have a statewide curfew law. Some local municipalities in the state have enacted ordinances to restrict the right of teenagers 17 years of age and younger to be in public places, particularly during the nighttime hours. In some cities, such as Los Angeles, daytime curfews have also been imposed.</p>
<p>Purpose of Curfew Laws</p>
<p>Cities, towns and counties across the U.S. have turned to curfew laws as a means of controlling crime and mischief by children and young adults. The laws restrict the times when children under a designated age can be on the streets or in public places when not under the supervision of a parent or responsible adult.</p>
<p>A typical curfew law prohibits a minor from being on the streets or in public places between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. on weekdays and later on weekends. Most ordinances allow exemptions for certain activities such as:</p>
<ul>
<li>Traveling to and from work</li>
<li>Participation in organized school activities</li>
<li>Participation in political and religious activities</li>
</ul>
<p>The curfew ordinances usually give law enforcement officers a great deal of enforcement discretion when dealing with emergency situations involving a person who is otherwise subject to the curfew laws.</p>
<p>Penalties for violation of local curfew laws may include fines, community service and imposition upon the child's parents of the costs of enforcement. Police frequently use curfew laws to stop and question juveniles about possible criminal activities, so additional criminal charges might accompany a curfew law violation.</p>
<p>California Authorizes Collection of Expenses</p>
<p>The California Welfare and Institutions Code imposes transportation and administration expenses upon the parents of children who violate local curfew laws on more than one occasion. State law also allows courts to declare habitual curfew law violators to be wards of the state.</p>
<p>Examples of California Curfew Laws</p>
<p>The City of San Diego prohibits children less than 18 years of age from being on the streets or out in public from 10 p.m. until 6 a.m. the next morning. The law allows for certain exempt activities including traveling to and from work and exempts a child accompanied by a parent, guardian or responsible adult.</p>
<p>The City of Los Angeles has a daytime curfew law in addition to one at night. A minor under 18 year of age can be stopped, questioned and detained by the police if the person is in a public place during school hours. Violations are punishable by fines and penalties or community service.</p>

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