Teen Curfews: Timing Is Everything

I have never really had to give a curfew before.

My girls are usually driven back and forth by myself or another parent, so if they are a little late it is no big deal, although I do know parents who are so strict they ground a child even when another parent brought them home 10 minutes late. Personally, I think that is a little harsh unless there was a specific reason that child needed to be home.

This subject of teen curfews crossed my mind this past week since my 16 year old will soon have her drivers license and was just asked on her first date. I thought to myself “What time should her curfew be?” What do we do if we need to know something these days? Google it. Well a couple of clicks later and I found out that the state of Utah has a few things to say about teen curfews regardless of what a parent might say.

  • The Utah State Legislature enacted a law in 1997 that addressed a curfew for minors under 18. The law states that between midnight and 6 a.m. minors need to be off the streets, whether they’re driving or walking. Also, according to the law, parents or guardians of minors who allow their children to violate the law are also in violation. Violating curfew is a Class C misdemeanor and may result in a sentence of community service for violators.

Police Action

If a police officer finds a minor in violation of the curfew, according to the law he will take the minor home and “relinquish the minor to the custody of the parent, guardian or other responsible adult in residence.” If no such person is available, the minor will be taken to a designated facility in that county. This is not to be a juvenile detention or secure facility.

Exceptions

There are exceptions to the curfew law that protect a minor from being accompanied home by a peace officer. First, if the minor is being attended to by a parent or guardian in person, she is not in violation. The same applies if the minor is married.

  • Local laws may be different from the state laws. For example, Salt Lake County, according to the National Association of Counties, has different curfews for those under 16 and those over 16.Finally, if the minor is attending an approved school, religious or recreational event, traveling to or from work, responding to an emergency or enacting his First Amendment rights, he is not in violation of curfew.

So after talking with my daughter, we came up with 11:30 for her weekend curfew and 9:00 for a weeknight curfew. She is a hyper responsible kid and we will see if her new autonomy gets in the way of that. Anyone else have opinions on teen curfews out there?

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