[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Township of Florence 9-6-1995 by Ord. No. 1995-21. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The Township Council of the Township of Florence hereby finds that there has been a significant breakdown in the supervision normally provided by certain parents and guidance for juveniles under 18 years of age resulting in juveniles being involved in a wide range of unacceptable behavior, including vandalism, noisy and rowdy behavior, breaking and entering, public drinking and littering and harassment of residents.
The Township Council further finds that the offensive activities of the juveniles are not easily controlled by existing laws and ordinances because the activities are easily concealed whenever police officers are present and that 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 Township Council further finds and has determined that a curfew meets a very real local need and that curfew ordinances in other communities have been a significant factor in minimizing juvenile delinquency. A curfew in Florence is particularly appropriate in view of the basic residential nature of the community in the sense of the community that there is a proper time for the cessation of outdoor activities of juveniles. That sense of community is reflected by the curfew hours declared by this chapter which take into consideration also the danger hours for nocturnal crime and for accumulations of juveniles with potential risk incident to immaturity.
In enacting this chapter, the Township Council adopts the findings of the legislature expressed in P.L. 1992, Chapter 132 and has taken note of the peculiar vulnerability of children, both as victims of crime and as perpetrators of offenses because of peer pressure. This chapter is intended not only to prevent children from causing harm but also is intended to protect children themselves from being harmed as victims of nocturnal crime.
Editor's Note: See N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.52.
Florence is basically a family community. Parental responsibility for the whereabouts of children is the accepted norm by a substantial majority of the community. Legal sanctions to enforce such responsibility have had a demonstrated effectiveness in many communities over the years. The Township Council has determined that as parental control increases there is a likelihood that juvenile delinquency decreases and that there is a need for a nocturnal curfew for juveniles in Florence and that the establishment of a curfew applicable to juveniles will reinforce the primary authority and responsibility of parents and guardians over juveniles in their care and custody.
It is not the intent of this chapter to supplant parental supervision. The Township Council recognizes the right of parents to direct their children's upbringing and family autonomy against unreasonable interference. The Township Council is also aware that in cases in which harm to the physical or mental health of a child or to the public safety, peace, order or welfare is threatened, the legitimate interests of the community as a whole may override the parents qualified right to control the upbringing of their children.
The Township Council also recognizes that juveniles are protected with certain constitutional rights and guaranties that are enjoyed by all citizens of this community. It is not the intention of this chapter to deprive juveniles of the ability to exercise valid rights secured to them under the Constitution of the United States or the State of New Jersey. The function of this chapter is, instead, to protect juveniles and to balance the right of all citizens of the Township of Florence so that all may enjoy the rights and privileges of citizens as guarantied to them by the Constitution and the laws of this country and this state.
The following terms used in this chapter are defined as follows:
- 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.
- An 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.
[Amended 2-5-1997 by Ord. No. 1997-5]
It shall be unlawful for any juvenile to be on or remain on or upon any public place within the Township of Florence between the following hours:
Beginning at 11:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights, and official holidays, Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve nights, and extending until 5:00 a.m. on the following day.
Beginning at 10:00 p.m. on all other nights and extending until 5:00 a.m. the following day, except as otherwise provided below.
Beginning at 9:00 p.m. and extending until 5:00 a.m. on all nights during the period of October 27 through November 2 of each calendar year.
A juvenile on the street during the hours referred to in § 66-3 shall not be considered in violation of this chapter under the following circumstances:
When accompanied by a parent or guardian of such juvenile.
When accompanied by an adult authorized by a parent of such juvenile to take said parent's place in accompanying said minor for a designated period of time and purpose within a specified area.
When exercising First Amendment rights protected by the United States Constitution, such as the free exercise of religion, freedom of speech and the right of such exercise, provided that the juvenile has in his possession a written communication, signed by the juvenile and countersigned by a parent or guardian of the juvenile with their home address and telephone number, specifying when, where and in what manner the juvenile will be on the streets at night during hours when the Curfew Ordinance is otherwise applicable to said juvenile in the exercise of a First Amendment right specified in such communication.
In case of reasonable necessity for the juvenile remaining on the streets, providing that the juvenile has in his possession a written communication, signed by the juvenile and countersigned by a parent or guardian of the juvenile with their home address and telephone number setting forth the facts establishing the reasonable necessity relating to specified streets at a designated time for a described purpose including points of origin and destination.
When the juvenile is on the sidewalk or property where the juvenile resides or on either side of or across the street from the place where the juvenile resides and the adult owner or resident of that property has given permission for the juvenile to be there.
When returning home from and within one hour after the termination of a school or township sponsored activity, or an activity of a religious or other voluntary association, providing that the juvenile has in his possession a written communication, signed by the juvenile and countersigned by a parent or guardian of the juvenile with their home address and telephone number indicating the place and probable time of termination of the activity.
When the minor is, with parental consent, in a motor vehicle. This contemplates normal travel. It is the intention of this provision to clearly exempt bona fide interstate movements along major routes through the Township of Florence and interstate travel beginning or ending in the Township of Florence.
When engaged in or traveling to or from a place of employment.
When engaged in an errand involving a medical emergency.
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 in 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. It is intended to hold parents and guardians to a reasonable community standard of parental responsibility through an objective test. It shall, therefore, be no defense that a parent was inattentive or indifferent to the activities or conduct or whereabouts of such juvenile.
If a police officer reasonably believes that a juvenile is in a public place in violation of this chapter, the officer shall so advise the juvenile and take the juvenile into custody. The juvenile shall then provide his or her name, age, address and telephone number and advise the officer where and how to contact his or her parent or guardian. The juvenile shall then be taken to the police station where a parent or guardian shall immediately be notified to come and take custody of the juvenile.
If the parent or guardian cannot be located or fails to take custody of the juvenile, then the juvenile shall be released to the juvenile authorities or, in appropriate cases, may be temporarily entrusted to an adult neighbor or other person who will, on behalf of a parent or guardian, assume responsibility for the juvenile.
In the absence of documentary evidence, a police officer may use his or her best judgment in determining age.
Within 24 hours of the violation, the police officer who took the juvenile into custody shall file a written report, in a form to be prescribed by the Chief of Police, with the office of the Chief.
In the case of a first violation, the Chief of Police or his designee shall, by certified mail, send to the parent or guardian, written notice of the violation. The notice shall advise the parent or guardian of his or her right to contest the charge in Municipal Court and that the failure to contest the charge will be deemed an admission by the parent or guardian that the violation occurred. The notice will further advise the parent or guardian that there are no penalties for first offenses but that a subsequent violation by the juvenile will result in the imposition of monetary penalties upon the parent or guardian. This notice shall be deemed received upon mailing.
If, after the parent or guardian receives the notice pursuant to § 66-6E, the juvenile violates this chapter a second time, this shall be treated as a first offense by the parent. Upon a finding of parental culpability for the first parental offense, a parent shall be subject to a fine not exceeding $250. For each subsequent offense by a parent, the parent shall be subject to a fine not exceeding $1,000 or shall be required to perform community service, or both.
This chapter shall be liberally construed to effectuate the purpose and intent of P.L. 1993, c.132.
Editor's Note: See N.J.S.A. 2C:44-3.
Notice of the existence of this chapter and of the curfew regulations established by it shall be posted in or about such public or quasi-public places as may be determined by the Chief of Police or his designate in order that the public may be informed of the existence of this chapter and its regulations.