Curfew for Minors

 

 

A. DEFINITIONS
The following words, terms, and phrases when used in this article shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this section, unless the context of their usage clearly indicates another meaning.

Emergency - an unforeseen combination of circumstances or the resulting state that calls for immediate action. The term shall include, but shall not be limited to, a fire, natural disaster, vehicular accident, or a serious medical condition of sudden onset.
Guardian - the person who, under a court order, is the guardian of the person of a minor or the public or private agency with whom a minor has been placed by a court.
Minor - any person under the age of eighteen years.
Parent - a person who is the natural or adoptive parent of a person. As used herein, "parent" shall also include a court-appointed guardian or other person 18 years of age or older, authorized by the parent, by a court order, or by the court-appointed guardian to have the care and custody of a person.
Public place - any place to which the public or a substantial group of the public has access and includes, but is not limited to, streets, highways, and the common areas of schools, hospitals, apartments, houses, office buildings, transport facilities, and shops.

B. OFFENSES
1. It shall be unlawful for any child under the age of seventeen (17) to knowingly remain, walk, run, stand, drive or ride about, in or upon any public place in the City between the hours of 12:00 a.m. (midnight) and 5:00 a.m. on any day of the week or between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. on Monday through Friday.
2. It shall be unlawful for the parent or guardian having legal custody of a minor to knowingly allow or permit the minor to be in violation of the curfew imposed by this Code.

C. DEFENSES
It is a defense to prosecution under Subsection B of this Ordinance if:

1. The minor was accompanied by his or her parent or guardian;
2. The minor was accompanied by an adult designated by his or her parent or guardian;
3. The minor was on an errand made necessary by an emergency;
4. The minor was attending a school, religious, or government-sponsored activity or was traveling to or from a school, religious, or government-sponsored activity;
5. The minor was engaged in a lawful employment activity or was going directly to or coming directly from lawful employment;
6. The minor was on an errand directed by his or her parent or guardian'
7. The minor was in a motor vehicle involved in intrastate or interstate transportation;
8. The minor was engaged in, participating in, or traveling to or from any event, function or activity for which the application of Subsection B of this Ordinance would contravene his or her rights protected by the Texas or United States Constitution;
9. The minor was married or had been married or had disabilities of minority removed in accordance with Chapter 31 of the Texas Family Code; or
10. With respect to the hours between 9:00 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. only, that the offense occurred during the school summer vacation break period of the school in which the minor is enrolled or on a holiday observed by the closure of classes in the school in which the minor is enrolled or that the minor has graduated from high school or received a high school equivalency certificate; or that the minor has permission to be absent from school or be in a public place from an authorized school official. In the case of child being educated in a home school, a parent shall be deemed a school official.

D. ENFORCEMENT
Notwithstanding the penal effect of this article, the Chief of Police is encouraged to develop an alternative enforcement strategy, which may include, but shall not be limited to, the return of minors to their residence or schools, counseling with minors and their parents or guardians, the issuance of citations (formal and/or warnings) to minors or their parents or guardians, or the referral of instances that appear to also involve the violation of school attendance laws to those officers who are responsible for the enforcement of those laws.

E. PENALTY
Any person violating this ordinance, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor which shall be punishable by a fine of not more than $500 for each offense.