Daytime Juvenile Curfew
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the purpose of this ordinance?
The ordinance has three aims:
- Keep students in school where they belong
- Protect minors from becoming victims of crime
- Protect the public from juvenile offenders
Who is subject to the ordinance?
All students up to age 17, inside the Dallas city limits, are subject to the law. Students aged 10 up to 17 can be cited for a violation. Also, a student’s parent or guardian can be cited for allowing the student to violate the curfew. Finally, the owner, operator or employee of a business can be cited for knowingly allowing a minor to be on the premises during curfew hours. Parents, guardians and business personnel will be warned first, and only cited after repeat offenses.
What are the daytime curfew hours?
9:00 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. on school days. Don’t forget that the night time curfew remains in force every night from 11:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m. Sunday nights through Thursday mornings, and from midnight until 6:00 a.m. Saturday nights through Sunday mornings.
How is this ordinance different from current truancy law?
Truancy law is only enforceable by school authorities, who typically don’t file a case until the student accumulates 10 absences in 6 months. By that point, behavior patterns are habitual and resistant to change. The daytime curfew targets truant minors, but allows City courts to try to redirect their behavior.
What if a minor has a valid reason to be off the school campus?
The police officer is obliged to determine if the student has a defense to prosecution, as defined in the ordinance (for example, school is not in session, or student is on a field trip). If so, nothing happens and the student is free to go.
What will happen when a minor is picked up by Dallas Police for a curfew violation?
He or she will be returned to school or the nearest Youth Action Center, and may be cited as well. The officer will attempt to notify the minor’s parent or guardian of the incident.
What is the penalty for a violation?
A person who is convicted or pleads guilty can be fined an amount up to $500. However, since the real point is to reverse truant behavior, prosecutors plan to recommend to the courts that minors and their parents/guardians be given the opportunity to take relevant courses or workshops. Upon completion of the alternative, the citation would be dismissed.
Does this offense give a minor a criminal record?
No. A municipal code violation—even if a fine is paid—can not go on a juvenile record.