New Curfew Law Goes Into Effect in Charlotte
From http://www.wbt.com by Dedrick Russell, Reporter, December 15, 2011
CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) – If you are younger than 15 years old and want to hang out late, think again. A new curfew time is now in effect.
Kids 12 years and under have to be inside by 10 PM.
If they are between 13-15 years old the curfew time is 11 PM.
Also changing is the age of the guardian who must be with a teenager when out after curfew. Before the age was 18 now the chaperone has to be 21.
Before the law allowed teens to stay out an hour later.
“I think it should have been done years ago,” Parent Rocky Novellina said. “I don’t know what the city was waiting for.”
A recent shooting and death and hundreds of teenagers running around downtown back in May put the curfew change on the fast track. City officials and police believe this will help keep teenagers out of harm’s way.
Police say they will enforce this new rule very reasonably.
“We’re not going to be going into neighborhoods,” CMPD Police Chief Rodney Monroe said. “Picking up kids that are in front of their houses congregating or at locations that are safe for our kids. It’s only those environments where we think harm can come to our kids and we have rules to apply it.”
Mayor Pro Tem Patrick Cannon wanted the law to include 16 and 17 year olds. He says state law prevented that from happening, but he says he’s not giving up that fight.
“I still want to make sure we pursue the conversation with our delegation,” Cannon said. “And any others who want to help us to see if we can increase that age limit to 16 and 17, because we know there is a serious problem there.”
State Law Prevents City from Enforcing Curfew for Older Teens
Cannon was hoping revisions in the curfew ordinance would target teens 16 and 17 years old. But he says state law ties the city’s hands.
Cannon notes that North Carolina views teens starting at age 15 as an adult. “So with that being the case as well as the courts not having the resources monetarily to support such a program, we won’t be able to move forward,” Cannon said.
Last year, arrests reports showed nearly 170 sixteen and seventeen year olds were arrested late at night. And just this past weekend, several teens that age were arrested for various crimes like larceny and drinking.
“My wish would be that the delegation would take the bull by the horns and go forward on the state level and change the laws so we can have some flexibility in Mecklenburg County, here in this region,” Cannon said.
Cannon says the goal is to keep kids from putting themselves in harms way or becoming a victim to someone else. At the same time, still letting a kid be a kid.
“We are only one of three states in the country that has it set up to where we can’t protect our youth. And that’s a problem,” Cannon said.
The summary information below is from the Charlotte – Mecklenburg Police Dept. via http://www.curfew.cmpd.org
(The complete ordinance follows this information)
The City of Charlotte has enacted a Youth Protection Ordinance that imposes a curfew for juveniles less than 16 years of age.
Juveniles under the age of 13 cannot be in a public place or business from 10:00 pm until 6:00 am on any day of the week.
Juveniles ages 13-15 cannot be in a public place or business from 11:00 pm until 6:00 am on any day of the week (unless they fall within one of the exceptions listed below).
A person will be in violation of this ordinance if they are:
A juvenile and he/she is in a public place or premises of an establishment during the restricted hours.
A parent, guardian or custodian of a juvenile who knowingly allows a juvenile to remain in a public place or on the premises of an establishment during the restricted hours;
A business owner or operator who knowingly allows a juvenile to remain upon the premises during the restricted hours;
A person 16 years of age or older who aids and abets a juvenile in violating this ordinance;
A juvenile that violates this ordinance is subject to being adjudicated delinquent.
Any person other than a juvenile who violates this ordinance is guilty of a misdemeanor which requires a mandatory court appearance.
A juvenile who is in a public place or business during the restricted hours is not in violation of this ordinance if they are:
Accompanied by a parent or guardian;
Accompanied by an adult 21 years or older who is authorized to be accompanying the juvenile for the designated period of time and purpose;
On an errand, using a direct route, until 10:30 p.m. for juveniles under the age of 13 and 11:30 p.m. for juveniles ages 13-15;
In a motor vehicle, with parental consent, engaged in interstate travel through the city originating or terminating the city;
Traveling in a motor vehicle with a parent or guardian or other authorized person adult age 21 or older;
Engaged in lawful employment or using a direct route to or from a place of employment;
Reacting or responding to an emergency;
Attending or traveling to or from an official function sponsored by the schools, a government or religious entity, a civic organization, or other entity that accepts responsibility for the juveniles;
Exercising first amendment rights such as a free exercise of religion, freedom of speech and the right to assembly;
Married or emancipated;
When authorized by special permit from the Chief of Police when the necessary nighttime activities of the juveniles are not adequately addressed by other provisions of this ordinance.
The Complete Text of the Ordinance is below:
Sec. 15-151: Purpose:
The purpose of this article is to protect juveniles from victimization and exposure to criminal activity by establishing a curfew for juveniles under the age of 16 years in the city. This article is intended to reinforce and promote the role of the parent in raising and guiding children and promote the health, safety, and welfare of both juveniles and adults by creating an environment offering better protection and security for all concerned. (Code 1985, § 15-145)
Sec. 15-152: Definitions:
The following words, terms and phrases, when used in this article, shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this section, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:
Direct Route means the shortest reasonable path of travel or a commonly used route to reach a final destination without any detour or stop along the way.
Emergency means an unforeseen combination of circumstances or the resulting state that calls for immediate action. The term includes, but is not limited to, a fire, a natural disaster, an automobile accident, or any situation requiring immediate action to prevent serious bodily injury or death. This term also includes any action that is reasonably necessary in order to respond to the medical needs of a family member of the juvenile, regardless of whether the juvenile’s action is taken in order to prevent death or serious bodily injury.
Establishment means any privately owned place of business operated for profit to which the public has access or is invited, including, but not limited to, any place of amusement or entertainment.
Guardian means a person who is court appointed to be the guardian of a juvenile.
Juvenile means any person under the age of 16 years.
Owner/Operator means any individual, firm, association, partnership or corporation operating, managing or conducting any establishment, including the employees, members or partners of an association or partnership and the officers of a corporation.
Parent means a person who is a natural parent, adoptive parent, foster parent, stepparent or another person, or a person to whom legal custody has been given by court order.
Public place means any place that is generally open to and used by the public or a substantial group of the public, whether it be publicly or privately owned, including, but not limited to, streets, sidewalks, highways, alleys, rights-of-way, public vehicular areas and parking lots, transportation facilities, theaters, restaurants, shops, bowling alleys, schools and school grounds, places of business and amusement, playgrounds, parks, similar areas that are open to the public, and other common areas open to or accessible to the public.
Remain means to linger or stay in a public place, to fail to leave the premises when requested to do so by a police officer, or to fail to leave the premises of an establishment when requested to do so by the owner/operator or employee of the premises.
Restricted Hours means the time of night referred to in this article is based upon the prevailing standard of time, whether Eastern Standard Time or Eastern Daylight Saving Time, generally observed at that hour by the public in the city.
(1) On any Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday, 11:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m. of the following day; and
(2) On any Saturday or Sunday, 12:01 a.m. until 6:00 a.m. (Code 1985, § 15-146)
Cross references: Definitions generally, § 1-2.
Sec. 15-153. Offenses:
Except as provided by section 15-154, the following offenses constitute a violation of this article:
(1) A juvenile commits an offense by being present in or remaining in any public place or on the premises of any establishment within the city during the restricted hours.
(2) A parent or guardian of a juvenile commits an offense if he knowingly permits, or by insufficient control, allows the juvenile to remain in any public place or on the premises of any establishment within the city during the restricted hours. The term “knowingly” includes knowledge that a parent should reasonably be expected to have concerning the whereabouts of a juvenile in that parent’s legal custody. This requirement is intended to hold a neglectful or careless parent up to a reasonable community standard of parental responsibility through an objective test. It shall, therefore, be no defense that a parent was completely indifferent to the activities or conduct or whereabouts of such juvenile.
(3) The owner, operator, or any employee of an establishment commits an offense if he knowingly allows a juvenile to remain upon the premises of the establishment during the restricted hours. The term “knowingly” includes knowledge that an operator or employer should reasonably be expected to have concerning the patrons of an establishment. The standard for “knowingly” shall be applied through an objective test: whether a reasonable person in the operator’s or employee’s position should have known that the patron was a juvenile in violation of this article.
(4) It shall be a violation of this article for any person 16 years of age or older to aid or abet a juvenile in the violation of subsection (1) of this section.
(5) It shall be a violation of this article for a parent or guardian to refuse to take custody during the restricted hours of a juvenile for whom the parent or guardian is responsible. (Code 1985, § 15-147)
Sec. 15-154. Exceptions:
A juvenile who is in a public place or establishment during the restricted hours shall not be in violation of this article if the juvenile is:
(1) Accompanied by his parent or guardian.
(2) Accompanied by an adult 18 years of age or older authorized by the parent or guardian of such juvenile to take the parent’s or guardian’s place in accompanying the juvenile for a designated period of time and purpose within a specified area.
(3) On an errand, using a direct route, at the direction of the juvenile’s parent or guardian until the hour of 12:30 a.m.
(4) In a motor vehicle with parental consent engaged in interstate travel through the city or originating or terminating in the city.
(5) Traveling in a motor vehicle with a parent or guardian, or traveling in a motor vehicle with an adult 18 years of age or older authorized by the parent or guardian of such juvenile to take the parent’s or guardian’s place in accompanying the juvenile for a designated period of time and purpose within a specified area.
(6) Engaged in a lawful employment activity, or using a direct route to or from a place of employment.
(7) Reacting or responding to an emergency.
(8) Attending or traveling to or from, by direct route, an official school, religious, or recreational activity that is supervised by adults and sponsored by a public or private school, the city or other governmental entity, a civic organization, or another similar entity that accepts responsibility for the juvenile.
(9) Exercising First Amendment rights protected by the United States Constitution such as the free exercise of religion, freedom of speech, and the right of assembly.
(10) Married or emancipated.
(11) When authorized, by special permit from the chief of police or his designee carried on the person of the juvenile thus authorized, as follows:
When necessary nighttime activities of a juvenile may be inadequately provided for by other sections of this article, recourse may be had to the chief of police, or his designee, either for a regulation as provided in subsection (12) of this section or for a special permit as the circumstances warrant. Upon the findings of reasonable necessity for the use of a public place to the extent warranted by a written application signed by a juvenile, and by a parent of the juvenile, if feasible, stating:
(i) the name, age and address of the juvenile;
(ii) the name, address, and telephone number of a parent thereof;
(iii) the height, weight, sex, color of eyes and hair and other physical characteristics of the juvenile;
(iv) the necessity that requires the juvenile to remain upon a public place during the restricted hours otherwise applicable; (v) the public place; and
(vi) the beginning and ending of the period of time involved by date and hour, the chief of police or his designee may grant a permit in writing for the juvenile’s use of a public place at such hours as in the opinion of the chief of police may reasonably be necessary and consistent with the purposes of this article.
(12) When authorized, by regulation issued by the chief of police or his designee in other similar cases of reasonable necessity, similarly handled as set forth in subsection (11) of this section but adapted to reasonably necessary nighttime activities of more juveniles than can readily be dealt with on an individual special permit basis. Normally such regulation by the chief of police or his designee permitting use of public places should be issued sufficiently in advance to permit appropriate publicity through news media and through other agencies, such as the schools, and shall define the activity, the scope of the use of the public places permitted, the period of time involved not to extend more than one hour beyond the time for termination of the activity, and the reason for finding that the regulation is reasonably necessary and is consistent with the purposes of this article.(Code 1985, § 15-148)
Sec. 15-155. Defense:
It is a defense to prosecution under section 15-153(3) that the owner, operator, or employee of an establishment promptly notified the police department that a juvenile was present on the premises of the establishment during the restricted hours and refused to leave. (Code 1985, § 15-149)
Sec. 15-156. Enforcement:
(a) Before taking any enforcement action under this article, an officer shall ask the apparent offender’s age and reason for being in the public place or establishment during restricted hours.
(b) The officer shall not prepare a juvenile arrest report, issue a citation, or make an arrest under this article unless the officer reasonably believes that an offense has occurred and that, based on any response and other circumstances, no exception or defense in section 15-154 or 15-155 is present. (Code 1985, § 15-150)
Sec. 15-157. Penalties:
(a) A juvenile who violates any section of this article is subject to being adjudicated delinquent. The court may, in its discretion, impose any dispositional alternatives that are provided in the state juvenile code for any juvenile who is delinquent.
(b) Any person other than a juvenile who violates any section of this article shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be subject to a fine not to exceed $100.00 and imprisonment in the discretion of the court in accordance with G.S. 14-4.