[HISTORY: Adopted by the Merchantville Borough Council 10-15-2003 by Ord. No. 03-12. (This ordinance revokes former Ch. 19, Curfew, adopted 6-13-1977 by Ord. No. 522.) Amendments noted where applicable.]
For the purposes of the Curfew Ordinance the following terms, phrases, words and their derivations shall have the meaning given herein. When not inconsistent with the context, words used in the presence tense include the future, words in the plural number include the singular and words in the singular number include the plural. The word "shall" is always mandatory and not merely directory.
- JUVENILE OR MINOR
- Juvenile or minor is any person under the age of eighteen (18) years of age.
- Parent is any person having legal custody of a juvenile (i) as a natural or adoptive parent, (ii) as a legal guardian, (iii) as a person who stands in loco parentis or (iv) as a person to whom legal custody has been given by order of court.
- PUBLIC PLACE
- Public place means 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.
- Remain means to stay behind, to tarry and to stay unnecessarily upon any public place, including the congregating of groups (or of interacting minors) totaling four or more persons in which any juvenile involved would not be using the public places for ordinary or serious purposes such as mere passage or going home or shopping or engaging in specific Borough, school or church sponsored activities. To implement that thought with additional precision and precaution, numerous exceptions are expressly defined in this chapter so that this is not a mere prohibit or presence type curfew ordinance. More and more exceptions become available with increasing years and advancing maturity as appropriate in the interest of reasonable regulation.
- TIME OF NIGHT
- Time of night referred to herein is based upon the prevailing standard of time, whether Eastern Standard Time or Eastern Daylight Savings Time, generally observed at that hour by the public in the Borough, prima facie the time then observed in the Borough Administrative Offices and police station.
- YEARS OF AGE
- Years of age continues from one birthday, such as the seventeenth to (but not including the day of) the next, such as the eighteenth birthday, making it clear that seventeen or less years treated as equivalent to the phrase "under eighteen years of age."
It shall be unlawful for any person under eighteen (18) years of age to be or remain in or upon the public places within the Borough of Merchantville at night during the period ending at 6:00 a.m. and beginning:
In the following exceptional cases, a minor located upon a public place during the nocturnal hours for minors, their parents and their fellow-citizens shall not, however, be considered in violation of this chapter.
When accompanied by a parent of such minor.
When accompanied by an adult authorized by a parent of such minor to take said parent's place in accompanying said minor for a designated period of time and purpose within a specified area.
In case of reasonable necessity for the juvenile remaining upon the public places but only after the juvenile's parent has communicated to the Chief of Police or the person designated by the Chief of Police to receive such notifications the facts establishing the reasonable necessity relating to specified public places at a designated time for a described purpose including points of origin and destination. A copy of the communication, or of the police record thereof, duly certified by the Police Department to be correct, with an appropriate notation of the time it was received and of the names and addresses of the parent and juvenile, shall be admissible evidence.
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 (1) hour after the termination of a school or Borough sponsored activity, or an activity of a religious or other voluntary association.
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 Merchantville Borough and interstate travel beginning or ending in Merchantville Borough.
Each of the foregoing exceptions, and their several limitations such as provisions for notification, are severable, as hereinafter provided but here reemphasized will be considered by Borough Council as warranted by future experience illuminated by the views of student government associations, school personnel, citizens, associations, parents, officers and person in authority concerned positively with juveniles as well as with juvenile delinquency.
It shall be unlawful for a parent having legal custody of a juvenile knowingly to permit or by inefficient control to allow the juvenile to be or remain upon any public place under circumstances not constituting an exception to, or otherwise beyond the scope of, this chapter. The term "knowingly" includes knowledge that a parent should reasonably be expected to have concerning the whereabouts of a juvenile in that parent's legal custody. It is intended to continue to keep neglectful or careless parents up to a reasonable community standard of parental responsibility through an objective test. It shall, therefore, be no defense that a parent was completely indifferent to the activities or conduct or whereabouts of such juvenile.
Police procedures shall constantly be refined in the light of experience and may provide that the police officer may deliver to a parent, or guardian thereof a juvenile under appropriate circumstances, for example, a juvenile of tender age near home whose identity and address may readily be ascertained or are known.
In any event the police officer shall, within 24 hours, file a written report with the Chief of Police or shall participate to the extent of the information for which he is responsible in the preparation of a report on the curfew violation. It is not the intention of this section to require incident reports that will prevent police officers from performing their primary police duties. The reports shall be as simple as is reasonably possible and may be completed by police departmental personnel other than sworn police officers.
When a parent or guardian, immediately called, has come to take charge of the juvenile, and the appropriate information has been recorded, the juvenile shall be released to the custody of such parent. If the parent cannot be located or fails to take charge of the juvenile, then the juvenile shall be released to the juvenile authorities, except to the extent that in accordance with police regulations, approved in advance by juvenile authorities, the juvenile may temporarily be entrusted to an adult, neighbor or other person who will on behalf of a parent or guardian assume the responsibility for caring for the juvenile pending the availability or arrival of a parent or guardian.
In the case of a first violation by a juvenile, the Chief of Police shall by certified mail, send to a parent or guardian, written notice of the violation with a warning that any subsequent violation will result in full enforcement of this chapter, including enforcement of parental responsibility and of applicable penalties.
If a police officer reasonably believes that a juvenile is upon the public place in violation of this chapter, the officer shall notify the juvenile that he or she is in violation of this chapter and shall require the juvenile to provide his or her name, address and telephone number and how to contact his or parent or guardian.
In determining the age of the juvenile and in the absence of convicting evidence such as a birth certificate, a police officer shall, in the first instance, use his or her best judgment in determining age.
The normal procedure shall then be to take the juvenile to the police station where a parent or guardian shall immediately be notified to come for the juvenile whereupon they shall be questioned. This is intended to permit ascertainment, under constitutional safeguards, of relevant facts, and to centralize responsibility in the person designated there and then on duty for accurate, effective, fair, impartial and uniform enforcement, and recording, thus making available experienced personnel and access to information and records.
Notwithstanding anything contained in this chapter to the contrary, it shall be unlawful for any child under the age of eighteen (18) years to be upon the public places of the Borough of Merchantville after the hour of 7:00 p.m., prevailing time, on the 29th day of October, the 30th day of October, and the 31st day of October, until 6:00 a.m. the following morning, unless exempted from this section under Section 19-3 of this chapter.
Notice of the existence of this chapter and the curfew regulations established by it shall be posted in, on or at such public and quasi-public places as may be determined by the Chief of Police, in order that the public may be constantly informed of the existence of this chapter and its regulations.
Any person, as defined in Section 19-1, convicted of a violation of any provision of this chapter shall be subject to a fine of up to $1,000.00, and may be required to perform community service of up to 10 days. As provided in N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.52, whenever both a juvenile and the juvenile's parent or guardian violate this chapter, they may be required to perform community service together.