Ind. city to fine teens, parents for curfew violations

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

PLYMOUTH, Ind. — City officials have passed a curfew ordinance that is tougher than state law and would fine both teenagers and their parents for repeated violations.

Violating curfew is “an act of delinquency” under Indiana law and officials could begin court proceedings against violators after a third offense, city attorney E. Nelson Chipman said.

Police Chief Jim Cox added, “I’ve already talked with probation. They’ll be glad to take that paperwork.”

Under the ordinance passed by the Plymouth City Council this week, juveniles would be fined $10 for a first violation and $25 for a second offense. Their parents would be fined $50 for a third violation.

“That $50 is going to bite. … We won’t have many,” Cox said.

With exceptions for a child accompanied by a parent and for a teen going to work, a school activity or a religious event, the ordinance prohibits anyone under age 15 from being in a public place before 5 a.m. or after 10 p.m. any day of the week. Curfew for those age 15-17 is 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and midnight on Friday and Saturday. The state’s curfew law permits older teens to be out until 1 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday and allows younger children to be out until 11 p.m.

Police may detain violators in the lobby of the Plymouth Police Department until 5 a.m. or until a parent or guardian arrives.

“And if he leaves the police station, there are probably more problems than curfew,” Cox said.

Constitutional challenges have taken the state’s curfew law on and off the books repeatedly since 2000. The state later amended the law to include protections for youngsters’ First Amendment rights, and civil rights groups said they would no longer challenge the measure. Several Indiana cities have considered imposing even earlier curfews.

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