§ 24-6. Curfew for minors.  


Latest version.
  • (a)

    Definitions. As used in this section, the following words and terms shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this subsection, unless the context of their usage clearly indicates another meaning:

    Emergency shall mean an unforeseen combination of circumstances or the resulting state that calls for immediate action. The term shall include, but not be limited to, a fire, natural disaster, vehicular accident, or obtaining immediate medical care, or a serious medical condition of sudden onset for another person.

    Guardian shall mean any person who, under a court order, has care and custody of a minor, or a public or private agency with whom a minor has been placed by a court.

    Minor shall mean any person under seventeen (17) years of age and over ten (10) years of age.

    Parent shall mean a person who is the natural or adoptive parent of a person. As used herein, "parent" shall also include a court-appointed guardian; or any other person eighteen (18) years of age or older who is authorized by the parent, by a court order, or by the court-appointed guardian to have care and custody of the minor.

    Public place shall mean any place in which the public or a substantial group of the public has access and includes; but is not limited to, streets, highways, the common areas of schools, hospitals, apartments, houses, office buildings, transport facilities, and shops and stores.

    (b)

    Offenses.

    (1)

    It shall be unlawful for any minor who is under the age of fifteen (15) years to purposefully remain, walk, run, stand, drive or ride about, be in or upon any public place in the city between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. on any day of the week, or between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday, on school days only.

    (2)

    It shall be unlawful for any minor who is between the ages of fifteen (15) years and under seventeen (17) years to purposefully remain, walk, run, stand, drive or ride about, be in or upon any public place in the city between the hours of 12:00 midnight and 5:00 a.m., or between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday, on school days only.

    (3)

    It shall be unlawful for the parent having legal custody of a minor to knowingly allow or permit the minor to be in violation of the curfew imposed in subsections (b)(1) or (b)(2).

    (c)

    Defenses. It is a defense to prosecution under subsection (b) that:

    (1)

    The minor was accompanied by the minor's parent or guardian;

    (2)

    The minor was accompanied by an adult seventeen (17) years of age or older, designated by the minor's parent or guardian;

    (3)

    The minor was on an emergency errand made necessary by an emergency directed by his or her parent;

    (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 without detour or stop;

    (5)

    The minor was engaged in a lawful employment activity or volunteer work at a recognized charitable institution or was going directly to or coming directly from lawful employment or such activity without detour or stop;

    (6)

    The minor was on an errand directed by the minor's parent or guardian;

    (7)

    The minor was in a motor vehicle involved in intrastate or interstate transportation;

    (8)

    The minor was engaging in, participating in, or traveling to or from any event, function, or activity for which the application of subsection (b) would contravene the minor's rights protected by the Texas Constitution or by the United States Constitution;

    (9)

    The minor was married or had been married or has had disabilities of minority removed pursuant to V.T.C.A. Family Code, ch. 31;

    (10)

    The minor was on the sidewalk of the place where the minor resides or on the sidewalk of a place where the minor has permission from his/her parent or guardian to be;

    (11)

    The minor was exercising his or her First Amendment Rights protected by the United States or Texas Constitution, including but not limited to the free exercise of religion, freedom of speech, and freedom of assembly;

    (12)

    With respect only to the hours between 7:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, it is a defense if:

    a.

    The offense occurred during the school summer vacation break period of the school in which the minor is enrolled;

    b.

    The offense occurred on a holiday observed by the closure of classes in the school in which the minor is enrolled; or

    c.

    The minor has graduated from high school or has received a high school equivalency certificate; or

    d.

    The minor was not subject to compulsory school attendance pursuant to V.T.C.A. Education Code, § 25.085, as amended, on days or during periods in which the school where the applicable minor is enrolled has been canceled under the order and direction of officials authorized to issue such orders and directives, or similar language;

    e.

    The minor has permission to be absent from school or be in a public place from an authorized school official. In the case of a child being educated in a home school, a parent shall be deemed a school official; or

    (d)

    Enforcement. Any police officer, upon finding a minor in violation of this section shall ascertain the name and address of such minor. The officer shall warn the minor that the minor is in violation of the curfew and shall direct the minor to proceed by the most direct route to the minor's residence.

    If a minor refuses to heed such warning or direction by any police officer, or refuses to provide the police officer with the minor's correct name and address, or if the police officer deems it in the best interest of the minor or the public, the minor shall be taken into custody.

    (1)

    Before taking any enforcement action under this article, a police officer shall ask the apparent offender's age and reason for being in the public place. The officer shall also request proof of age and status, and may seek the assistance of the parents, guardians, or school.

    (2)

    Notwithstanding the penal effect of this section, the chief of police is encouraged to develop alternative enforcement strategies, which may include, but are not limited to returning minors to their residence or school, counseling with minors and their parents or guardians, issuing citations and/or warning to minors or their parents or guardians, and referring instances that appear to also involve the violation of school attendance laws to those officers who are responsible for the enforcement of such laws.

    (e)

    Penalties.

    (1)

    Any minor violating the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a class "C" misdemeanor. When required by V.T.C.A. Family code, § 51.08, as amended, the municipal court shall waive original jurisdiction over a minor who violates subsection (b) and shall refer the minor to the juvenile court.

    (2)

    The parents or guardian of a minor violating this section shall each be guilty of a class "C" misdemeanor, which shall be punishable by a fine of not less than fifty dollars ($50.00) nor more than five hundred dollars ($500.00).

    (3)

    In assessing punishment of either a parent or a minor, the municipal court judge is encouraged to consider any available community service program.

    (f)

    Sunset provision. This section expires on January 25, 2021 unless otherwise renewed or amended.

(Code 1960, § 14-4; Ord. No. 94-42, § 2, 7-28-92; Ord. No. 95-72, §§ 2, 3, 10-26-95; Ord. No. 98-109 § 2, 1999; Ord. No. 02-049, § 2, 5-23-02; Ord. No. 07-028, § 2, 4-26-07; Ord. No. 10-070, § 2, 8-26-10; Ord. No. 11-010, § 2, 2-24-11; Ord. No. 15-003, § 2, 1-22-15 ; Ord. No. 18-003, § 2, 1-25-18 )