“MY CHILD WAS OUT TOO LATE”: CURFEW LAW IN ILLINOIS - School Law Legal Blogs Posted by Mr. Matthew David Keenan - Lawyers.com

“MY CHILD WAS OUT TOO LATE”: CURFEW LAW IN ILLINOIS

            Your son
was out at a school party.  After the
party, he and some friends went to the park and hung around until after
midnight.  That’s when the police
arrived.  Now your son is charged with
violating curfew, and you may be penalized as a result.

            In
Illinois, a child under the age of 17 violates curfew when he or she lingers or
stays in a public place or even a private business during curfew hours. Curfew
hours are from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and 12:01 a.m. to 6
a.m. Saturday and Sunday mornings. 
Violating curfew is a petty offense carrying a fine up to $500, and a
judge can order the parent to perform community service.  A parent or guardian can also be charged with
a curfew violation if they knowingly allow a minor to violate curfew.

            Fortunately,
there are many exceptions to this rule.  Your
child can be out during curfew hours if they are with you.  Your child can stand on the sidewalk next to
your or your neighbor’s house (provided the neighbor doesn’t call the police if
it’s by their house).  You can send your
child to the store or on another errand and your child can keep a job, provided
they do not detour in route.  Other
defenses include riding in a motor vehicle in interstate travel; being involved
in an emergency; attending an official school, religious, civic or recreational
function supervised by adults or exercising First Amendment rights.

            Municipalities
are allowed to enact their own regulations. 
The Village of Winnetka simply adopted the state’s law.  In Evanston, however, the fine can be as much
as $750. Curfew hours have also been tightened by one hour from 10 p.m. to 6
a.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. Friday and Saturday.  Evanston law allows a parent to delegate
someone over age 21 to accompany their child. 
In Kenilworth, the parent-approved companion need only be 18.  Glencoe allows a minor to attend any assembly
activity “for which a permit has been lawfully issued.”

            While under
Illinois law, the parent commits an offense if they knowingly allow a minor to
violate the law, the Village of Wilmette also penalizes a parent or guardian
who “knowingly permits, or by insufficient control allows,” the minor to
violate the law.  Furthermore, if you are
the owner or an employee of a business and you knowingly allow a minor to
remain on your premises during curfew hours, you can be charged with a curfew
violation.  However, it is a defense if
you notified the police when a minor is refusing to leave your premises.

            If you are
approached by police for a curfew violation, the officer must first ask your
age and why you are out.  Think carefully
before responding.  If you have a
legitimate defense, the officer might not charge you.  An officer may only charge you if they
reasonably believe, based on your response, that you have no defense.  However, without a defense, it may be better if
you do not answer.  An experienced attorney
can better assist you if you have not already made admissions of guilt.  Even if you have committed a curfew
violation, an experienced criminal law attorney can help navigate the best
strategy for your defense.  If you are
the parent, did you “knowingly” allow your child to violate curfew?  At worst, an attorney may help negotiate a
more beneficial plea agreement.

If you have questions about this or
another related criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at
847-568-0160 or email matt@mattkeenanlaw.com.

In Illinois, a child under the age of 17 violates curfew when he or she lingers or stays in a public place or even a private business during curfew hours. Curfew hours are from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and 12:01 a.m. to 6 a.m. Saturday and Sunday mornings.  Violating curfew is a petty offense carrying a fine up to $500, and a judge can order the parent to perform community service.  A parent or guardian can also be charged with a curfew violation if they knowingly

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