While first-time parents may be overwhelmed by all the dangers that surround a curious toddler, parents of teens are overwhelmed by the dangers that surround their older kids. As the parent of a teen, you have probably established curfews, certain times when your teens need to be home, and certain places that your teens can and cannot go. For teens in Los Angeles, the city imposes curfew laws to help keep teens out of trouble, as well as keeping them safe from those who might be looking to cause trouble.
Los Angeles has daytime curfews for teens under 18 years of age, who are not permitted in public places, which include parks, roadways, vacant lots, restaurants, amusement parks and public buildings during the school year when school is in session, according to Los Angeles Municipal Code 45.04. Police officers can ticket teens who are not in school when they should be, and teens must then appear in court, along with a parent or guardian. Although the daytime curfew law was established to keep kids in school, critics of the curfew claim that it has the opposite effect, because teens miss a day of school for their court appearance and parents must take a day off work.
Some exceptions exist to the daytime curfew laws. Teens under 18 can be exempt if a parent or legal guardian accompanies them; if they are on an emergency errand on behalf of their parent or guardian; or, if they are coming to or going from work. Teens can also be exempt from the curfew if they are involved in an emergency that requires immediate intervention; if they are in a motor vehicle on the interstate; or, if their parents authorize them to be absent from school.
Any teen under 18 is not permitted to be in a public place between the hours of 10 p.m. and sunrise the next day. Public places include parks, roads, vacant lots, playgrounds and curb. Teens are not permitted in public buildings or in any unsupervised areas.
Rather than arresting offenders, police officers issue tickets to teens who violate curfew, and teens are then required to appear in court. In court, teens have the opportunity to explain why they violated curfew and to ask questions of the court of the court official. The official may dismiss the ticket, fine the teen, mandate community service, or he may reprimand the teen. If the official orders community service, the teen may have to attend school-sponsored programs or attend counseling.
- The Los Angeles Police Department: What Parent and Juveniles Should Know
- American Bar Association: Public Interest Groups Take on Los Angeles Curfew Law
- Mental Health Advocacy Services: How to Respond to Daytime Curfew Citations in Los Angeles County
- California Political News and Views: LA School Police Still Ticketing Thousands of Young Students