Curfew laws in the State of Georgia are applicable to minors and include both driving and non-driving clauses. Although the exact rules can vary across Georgia's counties and municipalities, violations of these curfews are often punishable by a fine and, in some cases, jail time.
In legal terms, a curfew is an official order imposed by the government that prevents certain people from being outdoors or in public spaces during designated times. In Georgia, curfews are applied to minors, people who are under the age of 18 years. Places that are prohibited during curfew hours include public streets, highways, roads, alleys, parks, playgrounds, shopping centers or other public places, public buildings, places of amusement, eating places and vacant lots.
According to Georgia law firm Conaway and Strickler, P.C., minors in Georgia who are out after 11 p.m. on weekdays and 12 a.m. on weekends are in violation of curfew law and subject to penalization. While the exact time frames of curfews can vary across counties and municipalities, they tend to fall between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., depending on the day and the age of the minor.
Teen-age Driving Curfews
The Teen-age and Adult Driver Responsibility Act (TADRA), or Joshua’s Law, is a statewide driver licensing procedure for Georgia teens aged 15 to 18 years. They have three steps to complete: the Instructional Permit, an Intermediate (Class D) License and a Full (Class C) License. Teen drivers aged 16 to 18 who hold the Intermediate (Class D) License are subject to a range of restrictions, including the following curfew: no driving between 12 and 6 a.m., with no exceptions.
According to Georgia's judicial branch, "original jurisdiction of juvenile courts extends to delinquent children under the age of 17 and deprived or unruly children under the age of 18." The specific parameters of punishment for breeching curfew laws vary according to county and municipal. For example, the Curfew Ordinance of Chatham County states that a violator cannot be fined more than $500 and/or imprisoned for more than 30 days in the county jail. The City of East Point Curfew Ordinance states that a first offense by a minor will result in a verbal and documented warning to the parent or guardian, and further offenses will be fined no more than $1,000 and/or imprisoned for no more than 60 days in the municipal jail.
Breaking curfew in TADRA’s Class D license can lead to suspension of the minor’s license, which can prevent or hinder the minor’s acquisition of a full Class C license.
In the instance of a license suspension, the Department of Driver Services can grant a hardship exemption for certain cases at its discretion. A curfew is not considered broken if the minor is with a parent or legal guardian, in an emergency, returning directly home from work or a school or recreational activity, or traveling to or from an activity involving the exercise of First Amendment rights. Any state’s curfew law can be overruled by the Constitution if it violates First, Fourth or 14th Amendment rights of the minor. This includes the right to free speech, free exercise of religion and freedom of assembly.
Victoria Wang has been a freelance writer in Hong Kong and Toronto since 2008. Specializing in entertainment and arts topics, her articles have appeared in "bc magazine" and "Demo." Wang is completing her Bachelor of Arts in English at the University of Toronto.