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Youth Protection
The City of Charlotte has enacted a Youth Protection Ordinance that imposes a curfew for juveniles under 16 years of age.  Juveniles under the age of 13 cannot be in a public place or business from 10:00 pm until 6:00 am on any day of the week.  Juveniles ages 13-15 cannot be in a public place or business from 11:00 pm until 6:00 am on any day of the week (unless they fall within one of the exceptions listed on the reverse of this card).
 
A person will be in violation of this ordinance if they are:
 
A juvenile and he/she is in a public place or premises of an establishment during the restricted hours.
 
A parent, guardian or custodian of a juvenile and he/she knowingly allows a juvenile to remain in a public place or on the premises of an establishment during the restricted hours.
 
A business owner or operator and he/she knowingly allows a juvenile to remain upon the premises during the restricted hours.
 
A person 16 years of age or older who aids and abets a juvenile in violating this ordinance.   
 
A juvenile that violates this ordinance is subject to being adjudicated delinquent.
 
Any person other than a juvenile who violates this ordinance is guilty of a misdemeanor which requires a mandatory court appearance.

 
A juvenile who is in a public place or business during the restricted hours is not in violation of this ordinance if they are:

  1. Accompanied by a parent or guardian.
     
  2. Accompanied by an adult 21 years or older who is authorized to be accompanying    the juvenile for the designated period of time and purpose.
     
  3. On an errand, using a direct route, until 10:30 p.m. for juveniles under the age of 13 and 11:30 p.m. for juveniles ages 13-15.
     
  4. In a motor vehicle, with parental consent, engaged in interstate travel through the city originating or terminating the city.
  5. Traveling in a motor vehicle with a parent or guardian or other authorized person adult age 21 or older.
     
  6. Engaged in lawful employment or using a direct route to or from a place of employment.
     
  7. Reacting or responding to an emergency.
     
  8. Attending or traveling to or from an official function sponsored by the schools, a government or religious entity, a civic organization, or other entity that accepts responsibility for the juveniles.
     
  9. Exercising first amendment rights such as a free exercise of religion, freedom of speech and the right to assembly.
     
  10. Married or emancipated.
     
  11. When authorized by special permit from the Chief of Police when the necessary nighttime activities of the juveniles are not adequately addressed by other provisions of this ordinance.

Purpose:
The purpose of this ordinance is to protect juveniles from victimization and exposure to criminal activity by establishing a curfew for juveniles under the age of 16 years in the City of Charlotte and unincorporated Mecklenburg County .  This is intended to reinforce and promote the role of the parent in raising and guiding children and promote the health, safety, and welfare of both juveniles and adults by creating an environment offering better protection and security for all concerned.

History:
In 1995 the City of Charlotte created a Youth Protection Ordinance that established a curfew for children less than 16 years of age.  In 1996 the Mecklenburg County Commission passed a Youth Protection Ordinance essentially identical to the City of Charlotte 's Youth Protection Ordinance.  The key provision of the ordinance is the establishment of a curfew for children under 16 years of age.  This ordinance governs offenses in both the City and the County.

Definitions:
-- Juvenile
means any person under the age of 16 years.
-- Public place means any place that is generally open to and used by the public, including, but not limited to, streets, sidewalks, highways, alleys, public vehicular areas and parking lots, transportation facilities, theaters, restaurants, schools and school grounds, playgrounds, parks, and other common areas open to or accessible to the public.

Restricted Hours:
(1)   Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday – 11:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m.
(2)   Friday or Saturday, 12:01 a.m. until 6:00 a.m.

 

The changes are effective December 15, 2011.
 
Curfew Hours:
 
Ages 12 and under:  10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. seven days per week
 
Ages 13-15:              11:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. seven days per week
 
Youth are not in violation of the ordinance if they are accompanied by a parent or guardian or a responsible adult age 21 or over who has their parents' permission to accompany the youth.
 

 

Offenses:
(1)    A juvenile commits an offense by being present in or remaining in any public place or on the premises of any establishment within the city during the restricted hours.
(2)    A parent or guardian of a juvenile commits an offense if he/she knowingly permits or allows the juvenile to remain in any public place during the restricted hours.
(3)    The owner, operator, or an employee of an establishment commits an offense if he/she knowingly allows a juvenile to remain upon the premises of the establishment during the restricted hours.
(4)    It is a violation of the ordinance for any person 16 years of age or older to aid or abet a juvenile in being present or remaining in a public place within the city during the restricted hours.
(5)    It is a violation of the ordinance for a parent or guardian to refuse to take custody during the restricted hours.

(Certain exceptions exist for juveniles in a public place during the restricted hours which are set out in the ordinance.)

Penalties:
(1)   A juvenile who violates any provision of the ordinance is subject to being adjudicated delinquent.
(2)   Any parent/guardian or other person who violates the ordinance shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.   

 

For full text of the ordinance, click Charlotte Youth Protection Ordinance