[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Lowell 8-9-1994 (§§ 12-20 to 12-27 of the 1988 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
The City Council has found that the incidence of crimes committed by and against minors or juveniles is increasing and has determined that a youth protection curfew ordinance is necessary and desirable in order to:
Protect minors from each other and other persons in public places and establishments 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.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- CURFEW HOURS
- 11:00 p.m. until 5:00 a.m. on any and all seven days of the week.
- An unforeseen combination of circumstances or the resulting state that calls for immediate action. The term includes, but is not limited to, a fire, a natural disaster, an automobile accident, or any situation requiring immediate action to prevent serious bodily injury or loss of life.
- Any privately owned place of business operated for a profit to which the public is invited, including but not limited to any place of amusement or entertainment.
- Any person under 17 years of age.
- Any individual, firm, association, partnership, or corporation operating, managing, or conducting any establishment. The term includes the members or partners of an association or partnership and the officers of a corporation.
- A person who is:
- PUBLIC PLACE
- Any place to which the public or a substantial group of the public has access and includes, but is not limited to, streets, highways, parks, playgrounds and the common areas of schools, hospitals, apartment houses, office buildings, commercial or industrial buildings, transport facilities, shops and businesses.
- SERIOUS BODILY INJURY
- 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.
A minor commits an offense if he/she remains, either on foot or in a vehicle, in any public place or on the premises of any establishment within the City of Lowell during youth protection curfew hours.
A parent or guardian of a minor commits an offense if he knowingly permits, or by insufficient control allows, the minor to remain, either on foot or in a vehicle, in any public place or on the premises of any establishment within the City during youth protection curfew hours.
The owner, operator, or any employee of an establishment commits an offense if he knowingly allows a minor to remain upon the premises of the establishment during youth protection curfew hours.
It is a defense to prosecution under § 132-3 that the minor was:
Accompanied by the minor's parent or guardian;
On an errand at the direction of the minor's parent or guardian, without any detour or stop;
In a motor vehicle involved in interstate travel;
Engaged in an employment activity, or going to or returning home from an employment activity, without any detour or stop;
Involved in an emergency;
On the sidewalk abutting the minor's residence or abutting the residence of a next-door neighbor if the neighbor did not complain to the Police Department about the minor's presence;
Attending an official school, religious, or other recreational activity supervised by adults and sponsored by the City of Lowell, a civic organization, or another similar entity that takes responsibility for the minor, or going to or returning home from, without any detour or stop, an official school, religious, or other recreational activity supervised by adults and sponsored by the City of Lowell, a civic organization, or another similar entity that takes responsibility for the minor;
Exercising First Amendment rights protected by the United States Constitution, such as the free exercise of religion, freedom of speech, and the right of assembly; or
Married or had been married and in compliance with the provisions of MGL c. 207, §§ 7 and 25, as amended.
Enforcement for violation of this chapter shall be by arrest or by criminal complaint or by noncriminal disposition as hereinafter provided. Before taking any enforcement action under this section, a police officer shall ask the apparent offender's age and reason for being in the public place or on the premises of an establishment. The officer shall not make an arrest or issue a notice to appear under § 132-6B for a violation of this chapter unless the officer reasonably believes that an offense has occurred and that, based on any response and other circumstances, no defense under § 132-4 is applicable.
Criminal disposition. Upon arrest and/or criminal complaint, a person who violates a provision of this chapter shall be, if so found by the court, guilty of a separate offense for each day or part of a day during which the violation is committed, continued, or permitted. Each offense, upon conviction, is punishable by a fine not to exceed $300.
Noncriminal disposition. Any person who violates any provision of this chapter may be penalized by a noncriminal disposition as provided for under § 1-6 of the Code and MGL c. 40, § 21D, as amended. This chapter shall be enforced by a police officer of the City of Lowell who shall issue a notice to appear in court. The penalty for each violation shall be $50 for each day or part of a day during which the violation is committed, continued, or permitted. A copy of the notice to appear in court which is given to a minor shall be forwarded to the parent(s) or guardian(s) of said minor for informational purposes.
Within nine months after the enactment of this chapter, the City Manager shall review this chapter and report and make recommendations to the City Council concerning the effectiveness of and the continuing need for this chapter. The City Manager's report shall specifically include the following information:
The practicality of enforcing this chapter and any problems with enforcement identified by the Police Department;
The impact of this chapter on crime statistics;
The number of persons successfully prosecuted for a violation of this chapter; and
The City's net cost of enforcing this chapter.