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Youth curfew laws and resulting controversies

On Behalf of | Dec 1, 2022 | Criminal Defense

Curfew laws could put juveniles on a confrontational path with the police. Oklahoma youths might discover these laws result in additional charges and possible penalties.

Curfew and young persons

In more than 400 localities, including states, counties, and cities, curfew laws remain on the books. These laws prohibit persons under a specified age to be outside the home without adult supervision. Governing factors behind curfew laws center on keeping kids in school and away from criminal behavior. Many children receive citations for violating curfew laws, and some police stops for alleged violations could result in an arrest for a different crime.

For example, the police might approach a young person about a curfew violation and conduct a search. If the search turns up a pocket knife or a small amount of drugs, the young person could face criminal charges. Dubious arrests may follow vague claims of resisting arrest or other violations. FBI data reveals that in 2019 11,650 youths were arrested for loitering after the police approached them about curfew violations.

Other troubles might arise for a young person dealing with curfew violations. Child protective services might become involved, potentially creating problems in an otherwise stable home. Such results lead to criticism of curfew laws.

Dealing with an arrest

A youth offender might not realize their rights, such as invoking the right to remain silent. In doing so, young persons could incriminate themselves when stopped for a supposed curfew violation. However, it could be possible to petition the prosecutor and the court to drop the charges, as might happen with nonviolent crimes.

A criminal defense strategy could question the legality of any searches or questioning. Sometimes, the police lack probable cause for an arrest, which may undermine a case.

Curfew laws come with some controversy and concerns about whether they protect children. Some suggest these laws unnecessarily lead young persons into conflict with the criminal justice system. Be mindful that those dealing with curfew violations and additional criminal charges still have a right to a defense.