Thank you to the State Bar of California hich produced the “Kids and the Law” of which this is an extract. For the entire booklet go to: Children’s law

Curfew laws restrict the rights of youngsters to be outdoors or in public places during certain hours of the day. Such laws aim to establish a safer community and better protect children from the negative influences that they might encounter while wandering around late at night. Currently, there is no state curfew. But, under state law, cities and counties can enact their own curfew ordinances. And courts in California have generally upheld such laws as long as the local ordinance seeks to discourage “loitering” or “remaining” in certain places after certain hours.

Under such local laws, parents can be charged for the administration and transportation costs of returning a minor to his or her home on a second curfew violation. (W&IC § 625.5) Also, a child who is a frequent or habitual curfew violator may be declared a ward of the court and treated as a status offender. (W&IC § 601(a)) (see Juvenile Court) Most curfew ordinances prohibit minors from being out past 10 p.m. on weekdays and midnight on weekends. Exceptions to such laws do exist, however, allowing kids to legally stay out late if they are:

● Participating in a religious, educational or political activity.

● Running an errand for a parent or guardian.

● Accompanied by a parent, guardian or adult.

● Working or going to or from their place of employment.

● Responding to some type of emergency.

● Returning home from a school, cultural or recreational activity.

 What will happen if my teenager breaks curfew?

He or she could be temporarily detained by police and returned home. State law also gives local police some latitude in their enforcement of such curfew ordinances if the officer believes a youth has a “legitimate reason based on extenuating circumstances” for the violation. (W&IC § 625.5(c))

 This information is provided for educational purposes only. For more information about divorce and family law in Los Angeles  please visit www.la-familylaw.com