[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Wappinger 10-12-2004 by L.L. No. 13-2004. Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter shall be entitled "Curfew."
The legislative intent and purpose of this chapter is to adopt a new chapter in the Town of Wappinger Code to establish a Halloween curfew to control various activities of minors under the age of 18 on Halloween and the day before Halloween. It has been reported to the various members of the Town Board that a number of neighborhoods are having frequent and/or repeated instances of loud noise, loitering, vandalism and boisterous conduct caused by the gathering of both residents and nonresidents as a result of Halloween celebrations. The Town Board highly values the health, safety and general welfare of its minors, and the Town has a vested interest in preserving and nurturing this valuable investment. The Town Board determines that the physical and psychological well-being of our minors is threatened by the increasing influence of criminal activities and occurrences of criminal activities, boisterous conduct and vandalism during the Halloween holiday. The Town Board further determines that minors are particularly susceptible to being victimized and abused on Halloween in public places during the late night and early morning hours and that persons under the age of 18 years are susceptible to participating in unlawful activities during the Halloween holiday and becoming victims of older perpetrators of crime by their lack of maturity, experience and vulnerability. The Town Board further determines that parental responsibility and supervision must be encouraged and promoted, and accordingly the Town Board finds that reasonable regulations determining the hours of which minors under the age of 18 may be in or upon public street, parks or other public places during the Halloween holiday will protect the juveniles of this municipality and reinforce parental responsibility and authority. The Town Board further determines that the darkness of late night and early morning hours on the holiday make it more difficult for law enforcement officers to prevent and solve certain types of crimes, including the making of graffiti, malicious mischief, vandalism and acts of violence, perpetrated by juveniles. The Town Board has therefore determined that, in order to protect the public health, safety, general welfare, peace and public order of the residents of the Town of Wappinger, it has become necessary to restrict the activities of minors between 9:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. on the following day on October 30 and October 31 in order to help maintain the public peace and order within public places and residential neighborhoods. It is not the intent of this chapter to amend any other chapter of the Town Code.
During the evening hours of October 30 and October 31 between the hours of 9:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. on the following day, it shall be unlawful for any minor to congregate, loiter, wander, remain or play in or upon any public place, public park, public area, street, road or highway in the Town, subject to the exceptions set forth in this chapter.
Subject to the exceptions set forth in this chapter, it shall be unlawful for the parent or legal guardian of any minor under the age of 18 years of age to knowingly, or negligently by insufficient control, allow such minor to congregate, loiter, wander or play in or upon any public place in the Town of Wappinger between the hours of 9:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. on the following day on October 30 and October 31.
Exceptions shall be as follows:
When a minor is accompanied by his or her parent or legal guardian.
When the minor is accompanied by an adult authorized by the parent or legal guardian of the minor.
When the minor is on the sidewalk abutting the minor's residence, or is on the sidewalk or the area abutting either next-door neighbor, which neighbor has not communicated an objection to the Police Department or an officer thereof.
When the minor is traveling in a direct route to his or her residence from employment and carries a signed statement from the employer briefly identifying the minor, the address of the minor, the address of the minor's place of employment, the name and title of the minor's employer who signed the statement and the minor's hours of employment.
When the minor is traveling in a direct route to his or her residence from an adult-supervised or adult-sponsored religious, school, civic, not-for-profit, recreational or entertainment activity.
When the minor is in a motor vehicle with parental or legal guardian consent for normal travel; interstate travel beginning or ending in the Town of Wappinger is excepted.
When the minor is upon an emergency errand.
When the minor is attending or traveling in a direct route to and from an activity involving the exercise of First Amendment rights protected by the United States Constitution, such as the free exercise of religion, freedom of speech, and the right of assembly. Such minor shall evidence the intention of such exercise by exhibiting to Town enforcement officials a written statement signed by such minor and countersigned by a parent or legal guardian of such minor, with their home address and telephone number, specifying when, where and in what manner said minor will be in a public place at night (during the hours when this chapter is otherwise applicable to said minor) in the exercise of a First Amendment right specified in such statement.
This chapter shall be enforced by all Town of Wappinger enforcement officers as defined in Chapter 115 of the Wappinger Town Code, including any police officer, Dutchess County Deputy Sheriff and any other person so authorized by resolution of the Town Board.
Any person who or which violates any provision of this chapter or any lawful order made pursuant to this chapter shall be subject to the payment of a civil fine. Such persons shall include, but not be limited to, the minor(s) who violate this chapter and their respective parent(s) and/or legal guardian(s). For a first violation, the amount of said fine shall not exceed $100, and for a second and each subsequent violation, said fine shall not exceed $250 per violation. Each day that a violation continues shall constitute a separate and distinct violation.
The Enforcement Officer may, in his/her discretion, issue a warning notice for a first violation.