Is There a Teen Curfew in Tallahassee, Florida?

by Jonita Davis

    Curfew laws are adopted by state and local governments to promote public safety. Parents usually enforce similar curfews of their own that are modeled on the local curfew laws. The idea behind such laws is to lower the crime rates among teens through prevention. However, according to Temple University's Public Health Law Research, little evidence exists to support the logic behind a curfew. In fact, the topic of curfew laws and teen violence hasn't been studied enough to provide any solid conclusions. Despite the lack of facts, curfew laws do exist in Tallahassee, Florida. It is the responsibility of parents and teens to know and understand these laws in order to stay out of trouble with the local enforcement agency.

    A curfew is used to curtail violent acts and delinquent activity prevalent amongst minors who stay out late at night. Parents usually impose their own curfews. However, these home rules can be hard to enforce for some parents, leaving the local governments in Florida to pick up the slack. Penalties are shared by the parents in some areas, because the parent has a responsibility to police the child on curfew laws.

    Although the city of Tallahassee has explored a city ordinance to establish its own curfew in past years, the city has not elected such an ordinance. This does not mean that there is no curfew in Tallahassee. The city follows the curfew set out in the Florida Statutes and Constitution Chapter 877, section 22.

    The state of Florida has a curfew law that is enforced by local police and is a model for local ordinances, according to a memo from the Leon County Board of Commissioners. If the area has no curfew, then the state code is upheld by local law enforcement. According to the Florida Statutes and Constitution, children under the age of 18 cannot be in public places -- open air or in a building -- between the hours of 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. the next day. The curfew law applies from Sunday to Thursday. On weekends and holidays, the curfew is extended two hours, from midnight to 6 a.m.

    Section 877.24 of the Florida Statutes and Constitutions states that teens are exempt from curfew laws in a few situations. Teens are exempt from curfew if they are going to or from work, school, religious or civic functions, traveling with a parent or participating in events thrown by establishments specializing in entertainment. The property that the teen lives on and the sidewalk in front of it are areas where he can walk or sit without violating curfew as well.

    Kids who have been expelled from school must also be home between 9 in the morning to 2 in the afternoon. The purpose is to keep the child off the street during school hours. The punishment for curfew violations is a written warning for the first violation and a trip home, courtesy of the local police. Subsequent violations garner a $50 fine.

    About the Author

    Jonita Davis is freelance writer and marketing consultant. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications, including "The LaPorte County Herald Argus" and Work.com. Davis also authored the book, "Michigan City Marinas," which covers the history of the Michigan City Port Authority. Davis holds a bachelor's degree in English from Purdue University.

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