Rules and curfews are a normal part of an adolescent’s life. They provide structure and keep mischievous teens out of trouble. Typically imposed upon a minor by his or her parents, some cities and counties in the Commonwealth of Virginia have established evening curfews for their under-18 residents.
While there is no statewide curfew law for Virginia teens, some local municipalities have included juvenile curfews in their city and county code of ordinances. The City of Virginia Beach, for example, states that minors cannot be on a city street, in a park or other public place, or in a parked or moving vehicle between the hours of 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. In Chesterfield County, those under the age of 18 are not allowed “to be upon the streets or other public places” between 11 p.m. and daybreak. And in Richmond, the state’s capital, teens can expect to be picked up by police if they are out between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. In each location, exceptions to the curfew include emergencies, commuting to and from work or school functions, and being accompanied by an adult.
The Richmond Code of Ordinances states that the purpose of its curfew for minors is to reduce the amount of juvenile crime and promote parental control over their teens. Individuals that are convicted of violating the minor curfew code in Richmond, including parents allowing their teens to break curfew, can be fined up to $500 and sentenced to 20 hours of community service. If a minor is found violating the city minor curfew in Virginia Beach, he can be issued a summons and be either brought home to his parents or a juvenile shelter, or be detained by the juvenile and domestic relations division of the court. Virginia Beach parents that allow or encourage their teen to break this curfew can be charged with a misdemeanor.
The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles states that drivers under the age of 18 holding a learner’s permit or license are prohibited from being on the road between the hours of midnight and 4 a.m. The only legal reason licensed minors can be out driving during this time are in the event of an emergency, commuting to or from work or to or from a school-sponsored event, or accompanied by an adult.
Check with your local municipal government to find out if there is a juvenile curfew in your town or city. Set a time for your teen to be home just before the legal curfew to ensure he makes it home in time. Abide by the law; if allow your child to wander the streets after curfew, then you, too, will be violating the law.
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