[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Hamilton 9-21-1998 by Ord. No. 1313-98. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The Township of Hamilton finds and declares that children who are left unsupervised during the overnight hours may be exposed to the most detrimental influences in society and that the allure of the rampant drug counterculture, the potential for involvement in criminal activity and other potential threats to the physical and mental health and welfare of children justify governmental action in furtherance of the protection of one of the most fragile and easily influenced segments of our society. The Township of Hamilton further finds and declares that it is in the best interest of society to encourage family unity, to encourage the family unit to provide for the care, protection and wholesome mental and physical development of children, to encourage the supervision of children by their parents and guardians and to encourage communication between them.
For the purpose of this chapter, the following definitions shall apply:
- A person other than a parent to whom legal custody of the juvenile has been given by court order or who is acting in the place of the parent or is responsible for the care and welfare of the juvenile.
- Any individual who is under the age of 18 years.
- PUBLIC PLACE
- Any place to which the public has access, including but not limited to a public street, road, thoroughfare, sidewalk, bridge, alley, plaza, park, recreation or shopping area, public transportation facility, vehicle used for public transportation, parking lot or any other public building, structure or area.
It shall be unlawful for any child under the age of 14 to be on foot or in any automobile or other vehicle in or on any public street or in any public place between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. unless accompanied by the juvenile's parent or guardian or unless engaged in or traveling to or from a business or occupation which the laws of the state authorize a juvenile to perform. It shall be unlawful for any parent or guardian to allow an unaccompanied juvenile to be on any public street or in any public place during said hours.
It shall be unlawful for any child under the age of 18 to be on foot or in any automobile or other vehicle in or on any public street or in any public place between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. unless accompanied by the juvenile's parent or guardian or unless engaged in or traveling to or from a business or occupation which the laws of the state authorize a juvenile to perform. It shall be unlawful for any parent or guardian to allow an unaccompanied juvenile to be on any public street or in any public place during said hours.
If any parent or guardian allows an unaccompanied juvenile to be on a public street or in a public place in violation of the terms and provisions of this chapter, said parent or guardian shall be in violation of this chapter.
It shall not be a violation of this chapter if any juvenile is in a public place or on a public street during the hours which are in violation of this chapter if said juvenile is in said public place or on said public street while engaging an errand involving a medical emergency or attending extracurricular school activities or activities sponsored by religious or community based organizations or other cultural, educational or social events which occur during hours of curfew as detailed in this chapter.
Any policeman of the Township of Hamilton is hereby authorized and empowered to take into custody any such minor child who is in violation of the provisions of chapter. Such officer shall notify the parent or guardian of said juvenile of the violation and may issue a summons concerning said violation to the offending juvenile in accordance with the provisions set forth herein below. If said juvenile has not been charged with additional offenses which would require said juvenile's detention, then the juvenile shall be released into the custody of the parent or guardian.
Any juvenile violating the provisions of this chapter shall be subject to prosecution in the Municipal Court, as defined in the 1998 amendments to N.J.S.A. 2A:4A-23.
Any juvenile, parent or guardian violating the provision of any section of this chapter shall be subject to a fine for the first violation of this offense in an amount not less than $100 and not more than $1,000 and/or up to 90 days of community service in the discretion of the Municipal Court Judge. For a second or subsequent offense, a person who violates this chapter may be subject to a fine of up to $1,000 and/or community service of up to 90 days in the discretion of the Municipal Court Judge. If both a juvenile and a juvenile's parents or guardian violate this chapter, they may be required to perform community service.