State of New York Curfew Laws

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In New York, municipalities have the right to enforce three different kinds of curfew: juvenile curfews, business curfews and emergency curfews. A juvenile curfew prohibits individuals under a specified age from being in public between certain hours, and a business curfew prohibits businesses from operating between specified hours. An emergency curfew is a requirement that all non-essential personnel be off the streets and in their homes or other safe places while the curfew is in effect, often due to extreme weather or similar circumstances.

The Curfew for Minors in New York

In New York, there is no basic statewide curfew for minors. However, individual municipalities have the right to create and enforce curfews. An example of this is Buffalo’s 11:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. curfew for minors under age 17 on Sundays through Thursdays.

There is a statewide restriction for underage drivers, though. A junior license in NY restricts underage drivers from driving unsupervised between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. in upstate New York and prohibits them from driving completely in New York City.

Obtaining a Restraining Order Process

Typically, it is illegal to impose a curfew on an adult. However, when an adult potentially poses a safety risk to another, the individual who feels at risk may enact a restraining order. When a restraining order is part of one's probation or other release from jail, it may include a curfew.

In New York, a restraining order is known as an Order of Protection. This type of legal order puts specific restrictions on an individual, known as the respondent, in order to protect the party who enacted the order. These restrictions can include:

  • Prohibiting all contact between the parties
  • Prohibiting the respondent from owning a gun
  • Requiring the respondent to move out of the home he shares with the other party
  • Requiring the respondent to comply with a child custody order

The types of restraining orders available in New York are:

  • A family court order of protection
  • a criminal court order of protection
  • a Supreme Court order of protection

Each of these types of restraining orders provides a unique type of protection. A family court order of protection puts a stop to domestic violence within a family or an intimate relationship. A criminal court order of protection can be issued as part of a respondent’s release from jail, and this type of restraining order protects potential victims from being harmed by the respondent. A Supreme Court order of protection is issued while a divorce is pending and offers the same protections as a family court order of protection.

Understanding the Grounds for a Restraining Order

There are many grounds for a restraining order that a petitioner can cite while attempting to enact an order of protection. Citing grounds for a restraining order does not involve choosing specific reasons from a set of approved ones, like some states impose on divorces. Instead, it simply means that the petitioner must list as many details as she can to support her claim that the restraining order is necessary, like detailing her history of domestic violence involving the respondent and any relevant information on the respondent’s previous court order violations.

Penalties for Violating Restraining Orders and Curfew

Either party named in an order of protection can face penalties for violating the order’s terms, even the party who initially enacted it. In New York, the penalties for violating an order of protection include substantial fines and years in prison.

When an individual feels her order of protection is no longer necessary for her safety, she can petition to have it vacated by the court. Only the court has the power to vacate an order of protection, and it may choose to keep an order in place despite a petitioner’s request to vacate the order if it feels keeping the order is in all parties’ best interest.

Read More: New York State Restraining Order Rules


  • There are no statewide curfews in New York, but municipalities can enact curfews as they see fit.