The state of Florida has recommended a model law to prevent young people under the age of 16 from being out and about late at night. A local ordinance is required to put the law into effect, which means it's up to each county and city to decide whether to impose a curfew. Curfew laws are intended to keep teens out of trouble and protect the safety of the young person. You can be charged with a civil infraction if caught violating curfew laws.
Florida Model Curfew Law
The Florida model law prohibits any young person under the age of 16 from being present in a public place during the hours of 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 12:01 a.m. to 6 a.m. on Saturday, Sunday and legal holidays. Where the teen has been suspended or expelled from school, she is also restricted from being out in public on a school day between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.
County and City Curfews
Counties and cities can adopt their own curfew laws which may be more or less restrictive than the model code. In the City of Tampa and surrounding counties, for example, a juvenile is defined as anyone under the age of 17, and the Sunday through Thursday curfew is extended to 6 a.m. Tampa permits exceptions to the curfew when the teen is accompanied by a parent or if they are outside for work or for a school-sanctioned activity. Since curfew hours vary by county, it's important to check with the police in your area.
Penalties for Curfew Violations
Penalties vary, but a first-time violator typically will receive a written warning. Second and subsequent violations are charged as a civil infraction. The penalty is a $50 fine for each violation. Where a teen is caught violating curfew, the police will take him into custody and record the incident. Unless the teen is being booked for another criminal incident, the police will call the teen's parents to pick up the teen or will process the curfew violation, then escort the teen home.
Florida Driving Curfews
Florida teen drivers who hold a provisional driver's license are also subject to driving curfews. Sixteen-year-olds are banned from driving unaccompanied between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m; at 17 years of age, the curfew is shortened to between 1.am. and 5 a.m. The driving curfew is part of Florida's program of graduated driving privileges. The program is designed to provide greater behind-the-wheel freedom the more experienced the driver. The driving curfew doesn't apply when driving with a licensed adult passenger in the front seat or when driving to and from work.
Long Term Impact
While a curfew violation may seem relatively harmless, the charge will appear on your juvenile record. The state of Florida may remove these charges when you become an adult, but it's not automatic – you must apply through fees, forms and fingerprint identification to have your record expunged. When other crimes were committed alongside the curfew violation, it may not be possible to have your record wiped clean.
The Florida model curfew law prohibits any person under the age of 16 from being out and about between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. Sunday through Thursday, and between 12:01 a.m. and 6 a.m. on Saturday, Sunday and legal holidays.
Jayne Thompson earned an LL.B. in Law and Business Administration from the University of Birmingham and an LL.M. in International Law from the University of East London. She practiced in various “Big Law” firms before launching a career as a commercial writer. Her work has appeared on numerous legal blogs including Quittance, Upcounsel and Medical Negligence Experts.