[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Commissioners of the City of Union City 5-18-2004. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The Board of Commissioners is authorized to enact an ordinance establishing curfews for juveniles pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.52(b).
The Board of Commissioners of the City of Union City hereby finds based upon information provided by the Chief of Police that there has been a continued breakdown in the supervision and guidance normally provided by certain parents for juveniles under 18 years of age resulting in juveniles being involved in a wide range of unacceptable behavior during the late evening hours, including vandalism, noisy and rowdy behavior, breaking and entering, public drinking and littering, and harassment of residents both as perpetrators and victims.
The Board of Commissioners further finds that the offensive activities by and towards the juveniles are not easily controlled by existing laws and ordinances because the activities are easily concealed whenever police officers are present, and the establishment of reasonable curfew regulations will enable the community to better control the free and unobstructed access to the streets and public places by the majority of residents and will enable the police to act reasonably and fairly to prevent the violation of laws and ordinances by juveniles.
The Board of Commissioners further finds and has determined that a curfew meets a compelling local need and that curfew ordinances in other communities have been a significant factor in minimizing juvenile delinquency. A curfew in Union City is particularly appropriate in view of the high density of population in a relatively small geographic area in Union City and the mixed use of residential and commercial areas throughout the City. The regulation of juveniles is an attempt to minimize danger to the juveniles and the community during the dangerous hours for nocturnal crime and mischief, which could be accentuated because of the juvenile's immaturity.
Parental responsibility for the whereabouts of children is an accepted norm by a substantial majority of the community and many parents have expressed a desire to have a curfew in order to augment their efforts to supervise and guide their children.
For the purpose of this chapter, the following terms, phrases, words and their derivations shall have the meaning given herein. When consistent with the appropriate context, words used in the present tense include the future, words in the plural include the singular, and words in the singular include the plural. The word "shall" is considered to be mandatory and not merely directory or discretionary in nature.
- The City of Union City.
- An unforeseen combination of circumstances or the resulting state, including those circumstances which call for immediate action in response to a threat to public health and safety. This term shall be understood to include but not be limited to a fire, a natural disaster, an automobile accident or other situation requiring immediate action to prevent serious bodily harm, injury or loss of life. "Serious bodily injury" shall mean bodily injury that creates a substantial risk of death or that causes death, serious permanent disfigurement or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.
- JUVENILE or MINOR
- An individual who is under the age of 18 years.
- Includes knowledge or information which a parent or legal guardian should reasonably be expected to have concerning the whereabouts of a minor in the legal custody of a parent or guardian. It is intended to include and require neglectful or careless parents to maintain a reasonable community standard of parental responsibility through an objective test. It shall be no defense to this chapter that a parent was indifferent to the activities or conduct or whereabouts of such a minor or juvenile.
- LEGAL GUARDIAN
- A person over the age of 18, other than a parent, to whom legal custody of the juvenile has been given by court order or other method required by law.
- OFFICIAL EXTRACURRICULAR SCHOOL ACTIVITY OR OTHER OFFICIAL CULTURAL, EDUCATIONAL, RECREATIONAL, SPORTING OR SOCIAL EVENT SPONSORED BY A SCHOOL, BY THE CITY, OR BY A RELIGIOUS, CIVIC, VOLUNTARY OR OTHER COMMUNITY-BASED ASSOCIATION
- Any extracurricular; cultural, educational, recreational, civic, political, religious or social activity organized, coordinated and/or publicized by any public or private school, any agency or department of Union City, or any public or private organization, business or entity formulated for any cultural, educational, recreational, civic, political, religious or social purpose, whether not-for-profit or for-profit.
- The natural or legally adoptive parent of a juvenile or minor.
- 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.
- To linger or stay or to fail to leave a public place or establishment when requested to do so by a police officer or the owner, operator or other person in control of the establishment or premises.
It shall be unlawful for any person under 18 years of age to be on or remain in or upon the public streets and public places within the City of Union City:
During the period ending at 5:00 a.m. and beginning:
At 11:59 p.m. Friday and Saturday nights from September 15 through June 15.
At 11:00 p.m. Sunday through Thursday nights from September 15 through June 15.
At 11:59 p.m. all nights from June 15 through September 15.
In the following exceptional cases a minor who remains in or upon a public street or public place during the hours specified in § 137-3 above, minors, their parents and their fellow-citizens shall not, however, be considered in violation of this chapter:
When accompanied by a parent or legal guardian of such minor.
When accompanied by an adult authorized in writing by a parent or legal guardian of such minor to take said parent's place in accompanying said minor for a designated period of time and purpose within a specified area.
When the juvenile is on the sidewalk or property where the juvenile permanently resides.
When going to, without making any detour or stop and within one hour prior to the commencement of an official extracurricular school activity or other official cultural, educational, recreational, sporting or social event sponsored by a school, by the City, or by a religious, civic, voluntary or other community-based association, and supervised by adults of which prior notice by the organization or entity sponsoring the event, indicating the place and probable time of termination, has been given in writing, to and duly filed for immediate reference by the Chief of Police or officer assigned by the Chief on duty at the police station.
When returning home, without making any detour or stop, after the termination of any activity whether sponsored by a school, by the City, or by a religious, civic, voluntary or other community-based association and including all private activities within 1/2 hour after the termination of such activity so long as the juvenile has in his or her possession written permission from his or her parent or legal guardian.
When authorized, by special permit from the Chief of Police or the officer designated by the Chief for that purpose, carried on the person of the juvenile thus authorized, which may be issued only when necessary nighttime activities of a juvenile are required but are not otherwise addressed by any provision of this chapter. When the Chief of Police or his designee shall determine that the necessary nighttime activities of a juvenile warrant, a special permit for the event may be granted upon written application of the juvenile's parent or legal guardian and signed by the juvenile specifying the following and filed with the Department: 1) the name, address, and telephone number of a parent or legal guardian of the juvenile; 2) the height, weight, sex, color of eyes and hair and other physical characteristics of the juvenile; 3) the necessity which requires the juvenile to remain upon the public streets or places during the curfew hours otherwise applicable; and 4) the street or route and destination as well as the beginning and ending of the period of time involved by date and hour. In an emergency, as defined by this chapter, this application may be made by telephone or in person, with a corresponding written record being made contemporaneously to the Chief of Police or his designee at the police station.
When authorized, by regulation issued by the Chief of Police, to respond to cases of reasonable necessity adapted to necessary nighttime activities of more juveniles than can readily be dealt with on an individual special permit basis. Normally such regulation by the Chief of Police permitting use of the public place should be issued sufficiently in advance to permit appropriate publicity through news media and through other agencies such as the schools, and shall define the activity, the scope of the use of the public streets or places permitted, the period of time involved not to extend more than one hour beyond the time for termination of the activity, and the reason for finding that the regulation is reasonably necessary and is consistent with the purposes of this chapter.
When the juvenile carries a certified card of employment dated or reissued not more than 45 days previously, signed by the juvenile's employer and the Chief of Police identifying the juvenile, the address of his home and of his place of employment, and his hours of employment.
On an errand at the direction of the minor's parent or guardian, without making any detour or stop for the purpose of responding to a medical problem or emergency.
In a motor vehicle involved in interstate travel not originating in the City.
Married or had been married or had disabilities of minority removed in accordance with law.
When engaging in an activity protected by the First Amendment so long as the Chief or his designee receive prior written notice in advance of such activity and the juvenile has the written permission of his or her parent or legal guardian in his or her possession at the time the activity is engaged in.
It shall be unlawful for a parent or guardian having legal custody of a juvenile knowingly to permit or by inefficient control to allow the juvenile to be or remain upon any 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 juvenile in that parent's legal custody. This section is intended to hold neglectful or careless parents up to a reasonable community standard of parental responsibility through an objective test. It shall, therefore, be no defense that a parent was completely indifferent to the activities or conduct or whereabouts of such juvenile.
If a police officer reasonably believes that a juvenile is upon a public street or public place in violation of this chapter without any of the exceptions applying, the officer shall notify the juvenile that he or she is in violation of this chapter and shall require the juvenile to provide his or her name, address and telephone number and how to contact his or her parent or legal guardian. In determining the age of the juvenile and in the absence of convincing evidence such as a birth certificate, a police officer shall, in the first instance, use his or her best judgment in determining age.
The Chief of Police may require that the responding police officer or a designee within the Police Department deliver to a parent or guardian thereof a juvenile under appropriate circumstances to his or her home whose identity and address may readily be ascertained or are known.
In any event the police officer shall, within 24 hours, file a written report with the Chief of Police or shall participate to the extent of the information for which he is responsible in the preparation of a report on the curfew violation. It is not the intention of this section to require reports that will prevent police officers from performing their primary police duties. The reports shall be as simple as is reasonably possible and may be completed by Police Department personnel other than sworn police officers.
When a parent or guardian, immediately called, has come to take charge of the juvenile and the appropriate information has been recorded, the juvenile shall be released to the custody of such parent. If the parent cannot be located or fails to take charge of the juvenile, then the juvenile shall be released to the juvenile authorities, except to the extent that in accordance with police regulations, approved in advance by juvenile authorities, the juvenile may temporarily be entrusted to an adult, neighbor or other person who will on behalf of a parent or guardian assume the responsibility of caring for the juvenile pending the availability or arrival of a parent or guardian.
In the case of a first violation by a juvenile, the Chief of Police shall, by certified mail, send to a parent or guardian written notice of the violation with a warning that any subsequent violation will result in full enforcement of this chapter against the parent or guardian and juvenile, including enforcement of applicable penalties. No penalties shall be sought against parent or guardian and the juvenile in the case of a first violation although the parent or guardian shall be contacted to retrieve the juvenile. A copy of the notice of first violation shall be maintained by the Police Department. An additional copy of the notice of first violation shall be kept on file by the Municipal Court Administrator of Union City for the purpose of providing evidence of failure by the minor, as well as the parent or guardian, to observe the provisions of this chapter in the event of any subsequent citation for an alleged violation of this chapter. No written warning shall be issued for any subsequent violation of this chapter.
Community service. Any person, juvenile or adult convicted of a violation of this chapter shall be required to perform community service as directed by the court. As provided in N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.52, whenever both a juvenile and the juvenile's parent or guardian violate the chapter, they shall be required to perform community service together.
Fines. Any juvenile convicted of a violation of this chapter shall be subject to a fine of $50 for a first offense, $100 for a second offense and not less than $150 nor more than $1,000 for any third subsequent offense. Any parent or guardian convicted of a violation, after the warning notice pursuant to § 137-6 of a first violation by a juvenile, shall be fined $50 and for a second offense by a parent or guardian the fine shall be $100. For any subsequent offense by a parent, the fine shall not be less than $150 and not more than $1,000.
A person who violates a provision of this chapter is guilty of a separate offense for each day or part of a day during which the violation is committed, continued or permitted.