[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Union 7-26-1966 by Ord. No. 2336 (Ch. 132, Art. I of the 1986 Code); amended in its entirety at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I). Amendments noted where applicable.]
Findings of Township Committee.
The Township Committee of the Township of Union 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 Committee 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 Committee 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 the Township of Union 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 Committee adopts the findings of the legislature expressed in P.L. 1992, c. 132 (N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.52), 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.
The Township of Union 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 Committee 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 the Township of Union 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 Committee recognizes the right of parents to direct their children's upbringing and family autonomy against unreasonable interference. The Township Committee 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 Committee 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 Union so that all may enjoy the rights and privileges of citizens as guaranteed to them by the Constitution and 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.
It shall be unlawful for any person to be or remain on or upon any public place within the Township of Union between the following hours:
Beginning at 11:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday 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.
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 juvenile 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 or her 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 this chapter 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, provided that the juvenile has in his or her 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 remaining on specified streets at a designated time for a described purpose, including points or 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, provided that the juvenile has in his or her 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 juvenile 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 Union and interstate travel beginning or ending in the Township of Union.
When engaged in or traveling to or from a place of employment.
When engaged in an errand involving a medical emergency.
Upon charging a juvenile with violation of this chapter, notice of the same shall be given, in writing, by the Police Department to the juvenile's parent or guardian, which notice shall be sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, and by regular mail. If at any time within 30 days following the giving of notice as provided herein the juvenile to whom such notice related or applied is again charged, and upon such charge is subsequently convicted of a violation of the curfew provisions of this chapter, it shall be rebuttably presumed that the juvenile committed such subsequent violation with the knowledge, allowance, permission or sufferance of the parent or guardian of such juvenile, and the parent or guardian shall thereupon be charged with a violation of this chapter.
Any person found in violation of this chapter shall be subject to a fine not exceeding $1,250, a term of imprisonment not exceeding 90 days or a period of community service not exceeding 90 days, or any combination thereof. If both a juvenile and the juvenile's parent or guardian violate such chapter, they shall be required to perform community service together.
This chapter shall be liberally construed to effectuate the purpose and intent of P.L. 1992, c. 132 (N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.52).