[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of West Haven 6-26-1995 by Ord. No. 347. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Police Department — See Ch. 36.
The City Council has found that the incidents of crimes committed by and against minors or juveniles is increasing and has determined that a curfew chapter is necessary and desirable in order to:
Protect minors from each other and other persons on the street during nocturnal hours.
Assist the police in crime prevention.
Promote parental supervision and authority over minors.
Protect the public from nocturnal crime and mischief by minors.
Promote the furtherance of family responsibility and for the public good, safety and welfare.
For the purpose of this chapter, the following terms, phrases, words and their derivations shall have the meanings given herein. When not inconsistent with the context, words used in the present tense include the future tense, words in the plural number include the singular number, and words in the singular number include the plural number. The word "shall" is always mandatory and not merely directory.
- The City of West Haven.
- A person over the age of 18 who has been authorized by the parent of a minor to take the parent's place in accompanying said minor for a designated period of time within a specified area.
- MINOR or JUVENILE
- Any person under the age of 16 or any person 15 or less years of age.
- NOCTURNAL HOURS
- The hours between 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. based upon the prevailing time, i.e., Eastern standard time or Eastern daylight saving time, within the city.
- Any person having legal custody of a minor as a natural or adoptive parent, as a legal guardian or as a person to whom legal custody has been given by order of a court.
- PUBLIC PLACE
- Any street, alley, highway, sidewalk, park, playground, beach or place to which the general public has access and a right to resort for business, entertainment or other lawful purpose. A "public place" shall include and not be limited to any store, shop, restaurant, tavern, bowling alley, cafe, theater, drugstore, poolroom, shopping center and any other place devoted to amusement, entertainment or accommodation of the general public. It shall also include the front or immediate area of such premises.
- To stay behind, to tarry and to stay unnecessarily upon the streets, including the congregating of groups (or an interacting of minors) totaling four or more persons in which any minor involved would not be using the streets for ordinary serious purposes, such as mere passage or going home. To implement that thought with additional precision or precaution, numerous exceptions are expressly defined in § 86-3 so that this is not a mere prohibitory or presence-type curfew chapter.
It shall be unlawful for any minor to remain, idle, wander, stroll or be in any public place, either on foot or in a vehicle, between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. unless accompanied by a parent or a duly authorized custodian, except that a minor may be in a public place under the following circumstances:
While returning home by a direct route and within a reasonable time following the termination of a special function or activity conducted by a school, church, club or recreational or other organization sponsoring a function or activity for minors.
While on an emergency errand or specific business or activity directed or permitted by the parent of such minor.
While returning home by a direct route and within a reasonable time of leaving a place where such minor is employed.
While attending or traveling directly to or from an activity involving the exercise of first amendment rights of free speech, freedom of assembly or free exercise of religion.
When a minor, with parental consent, is in a motor vehicle engaged in bona fide interstate or intrastate travel.
When a minor is on the property or the sidewalk directly adjacent to where such minor resides or the property immediately adjacent thereto if the owner of the adjacent property does not communicate an objection to the minor or the police officer.
It shall be unlawful for the parent of a minor to knowingly permit or by insufficient control to allow a minor to be or remain in a public place under circumstances not constituting an exception to or otherwise beyond the scope of this chapter. The term "knowingly" includes knowledge which a parent should reasonably be expected to have concerning the whereabouts of a minor in the legal custody of the parent.
If a minor does not heed the order of the police officer to return home or, if in the judgment of the police officer, based on the age of the minor or other attendant circumstances, it would be in the best interests of such minor, the police officer shall transport such minor to his or her home. The police officer shall advise the parent of such minor that such minor is in violation of this chapter and shall issue a warning to the parent of such minor that any subsequent violation will result in a full enforcement of this chapter, including enforcement of parental responsibility and applicable penalties.
Not withstanding Subsection A of this section, a police officer who has probable cause to believe that the minor is in violation of this chapter shall transport the minor to the Police Department if the police officer has reasonable cause to believe that the minor has engaged in delinquent conduct.
When a minor is taken to the Police Department, the minor's parent shall be immediately contacted and requested to come to the Police Department to pick up the minor. The police officer shall advise the parent that the minor is in violation of this chapter and shall issue a warning to the parent that any subsequent violation will result in full enforcement of this chapter, including enforcement of parental responsibility and applicable penalties. If the parent is unavailable or unable to pick up the minor, the police officer shall transport the minor home or turn said minor over to the custody of the appropriate juvenile authorities.
If the police officer is unable to advise the parent of the violation of this chapter and/or to issue the warning as set forth in Subsection B or D of this section in person, the Chief of Police or his/her designee shall send a certified letter to the parent of such minor advising such parent of the violation and including a warning with respect to any subsequent violations.
Inasmuch as the primary intent of this chapter is to assure that minors are provided with appropriate parental supervision for their own protection and for the protection of the community, the penalties for violations are intended to be corrective rather than punitive in nature. Accordingly, if, after a warning notice pursuant to § 86-5, a parent of a minor violates § 86-4 of this chapter with a second violation by such minor, the Youth Bureau of the Police Department shall made a referral to the appropriate juvenile authorities of the State of Connecticut for an investigation with respect to whether said minor is beyond the control of his/her parent or neglected.
Severability is intended throughout and within the provisions of this chapter. If any provision, including, inter alia, any exception, part, phrase or term of the application to any person or circumstances, is held to be invalid, the other provisions or the application to other persons or circumstances shall not be affected thereby.