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scales of justice with clock

In many legal spheres minors have identical constitutional protections as adults. There are times when, due to “their unique vulnerability, immaturity, and need for parental guidance” (Hutchins v. District of Columbia, 188 F.3d 531, 541 (D.C. Cir. 1999)), the state is permitted to regulate control over a minor’s movements and activities. Juvenile curfew laws and ordinances are examples of such regulations. Their purpose is to help deter criminal behavior and protect minors. Categorized as “status offences,” a curfew violation is an act that would not be deemed criminal if it was committed by an adult.

Cities around the country have weathered large-scale legal and illegal citizen reactions following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. In response, many communities have imposed curfews. While such laws frequently allow for common sense exemptions (e.g., when the minor is accompanied by an adult, or in an emergency), these laws may still not pass constitutional muster. Curfews, in general, can be attacked from many angles. For instance, plaintiffs in Florida recently argued that “the county’s curfew is unconstitutional as it is a content-based restriction which cannot withstand constitutionally required strict scrutiny. The county, in response, argues that its curfew is a content-neutral time, place, and manner restriction and should be upheld under intermediate scrutiny.” 7020 Entm’t v. Miami-Dade Cty., 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 25929 (Feb. 11, 2021).

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