[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Springfield 7-1-1995 (Title 8, Ch. 8.16, of the 1986 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
The City Council of the City of Springfield has determined that there has been an increase in juvenile violence, juvenile gang activity, and crime by persons under the age of 18 in the City of Springfield.
Persons under the age of 18 are particularity susceptible, by their lack of maturity and experience, to participate in unlawful and gang-related activities and to be victims of older perpetrators of crime.
The City of Springfield has an obligation to provide for the protection of minors from each other and from other persons, for the enforcement of parental control over and responsibility for the protection of the general public, and for the reduction of incidents of juvenile criminal activities.
A curfew for those under the age of 18 will be in the interest of public health, safety, and general welfare and help to attain the foregoing objectives and to diminish the undesirable impact of such conduct on the citizens of the City of Springfield.
For the purpose of this chapter, the following definitions shall be applicable:
- CURFEW HOURS
- Curfew hours shall be from 11:00 p.m. on any Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday until 6:00 a.m. of the following day and from 12:01 a.m. until 6:00 a.m. on any Saturday or Sunday.
- 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.
- A person who, under court order, is the guardian of the person of a minor; or a public or private agency with whom a minor has been placed by a court.
- Any person under 18 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 a natural parent, adoptive parent, or stepparent of another person or at least 18 years of age and authorized by a parent or guardian to have the care and custody of a minor.
- 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, and the common areas of schools, hospitals, apartment houses, office buildings, transport facilities and shops.
- To linger or stay or fail to leave premises when requested to do so by a police officer or the owner, operator, or other person in control of the premises.
- 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 remains in any public place or on the premises of any establishment within the City during 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 in any public place or on the premises of any establishment within the City during curfew hours.
The owner, operator, or any employee of any establishment commits an offense if he knowingly allows a minor to remain upon the premises of the establishment during curfew hours.
It is a defense to prosecution under § 157-3 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 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 Springfield, 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 Springfield, 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 in accordance with MGL c. 207, § 7.
Before taking any enforcement action under this chapter, a police officer shall ask the apparent offender's age and reason for being in the public place. The officer shall not issue a citation under this chapter unless the officer reasonably believes that an offense has occurred and that, based on any response and other circumstances, no defense in § 157-4 is present.
Criminal disposition. 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. 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 § 1-25. This chapter shall be enforced by the Police Department. 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.