Tuesday, 06 October 2015 00:00

WHAT IS A CURFEW?

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A curfew prohibits anyone under the age of 18 from being outside or in a public area without adult supervision. A county, city, or town ordinance determines curfew times and disciplinary action can be taken if found in violation. One of the stiffer punishments for remaining out past curfew can include being charged with a criminal misdemeanor—breaking curfew is a serious matter. 

However, just because you may have stayed out a little too late, does not mean that you are doomed— there is still hope! Besides being accompanied by a supervising adult there are other exemptions to remaining out past curfew, which may include: 

  • Accompanied by a parent, guardian, or an adult with supervisory custody 
  • In cases of emergencies 
  • Involved in state to state travel with prior permission from parent or guardian
  • Going to or leaving from place of employment
  • Attending official school, religious or other recreational event supervised by adults
  • Exercising first amendment rights with prior written permission from a parent, guardian, or supervisory adult. 
  • Married or had been married, or had disabilities of a minor removed, or emancipation ordered by a court of competent jurisdiction

Why is there a Curfew?

Now you may be asking why there is a curfew to begin with. A curfew is set in place for the protection of local businesses and the community, but most importantly it’s for your protection. It limits juvenile victimization, the probability of public disturbance, and it discourages unlawful behavior.  It’s not that being younger means that you are susceptible to crime more than anybody else, but it keeps you and your parent or guardian accountable for your actions.   

The Law 

In most areas of Arizona it is unlawful for any minor under the age of 18 years to be or remain in, about, or upon any place in the county away from the dwelling house or usual abode of said minor between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and between the hours of 12:00 am to 5:00 am Friday and Saturday. However, curfews vary by area and you would need to check online to see your local ordinance. 

  • Possible consequences if curfew is violated:
  • Some police departments issue tickets for violating curfew
  • Some may give you a warning or take you to the police station and call your parents
  • You may have to pay a fine or do community service and have a juvenile record
  • Your parents or guardian may have to pay a fine, do community service
  • Both you and your parents may be found guilty of a misdemeanor.

Please remember to be mindful what time it is when staying out late. If an adult cannot accompany you plan ahead and get written permission from your parent or guardian before leaving. Please make sure that you are adhering to the law and for further questions regarding the curfew in your specific area it’s encouraged that you search online at your city’s website or call your local police department for more information. 

A sample of curfew laws: 

Flagstaff: It shall be unlawful for any juvenile under the age of sixteen years to be, remain or loiter in, about or upon any place in the city away from the dwelling house or usual place of abode of said juvenile, between the hours of 10:00 o'clock P.M. and 5:00 o'clock A.M. the following day. Any juvenile sixteen years of age or older and under the age of eighteen years of age to be, remain or loiter in, about or upon any place in the city away from the dwelling house or usual place of abode of said juvenile, between the hours of 12:00 o'clock midnight and 5:00 o'clock A.M.

Phoenix (including the Ahwatukee area): Under age 16: 10 P.M. to 5:00 AM everyday, including weekends; Age 16-18: Midnight to 5:00 A.M. everyday, including weekends.

Tucson: Age 16 years or younger: 10 P.M. to 5:00 A.M. everyday, including weekends; Age 16-18: Midnight to 5:00 A.M. everyday, including weekends. In addition, minors younger than 16 cannot remain, loiter or cruise in any vehicle in the county or its unincorporated areas between 10 P.M. and 5 A.M. The same law applies to 16- and 17-year-olds, between midnight and 5 a.m. The fine for a curfew violation is $25 for the first violation, up to $50 for the second violation, and up to $75 for the third violation.

Laws may have changed since the last time this article was updated.  The current and most up-to-date laws can be accessed here.