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What are the consequences for breaking curfew?

When you're under the age of 18 in Virginia, you'll have a few different sources of potential curfews to deal with. Unfortunately, breaking those curfews can result in some serious penalties, even if it might not seem like it's a big deal.

First of all, in some areas of the state there is a hard curfew for minors under 17. If you're this age or younger, you're legally disallowed from being outside between the hours of 11 P.M. and 5 A.M., barring extenuating circumstances like medical emergencies. The most well-known curfew is a state-wide one, however. It's defined by the Virginia Department of Motorized Vehicles as a curfew restriction for underage drivers.

What does this mean? In essence, anyone under the age of 18 cannot drive between midnight and 4 A.M. barring certain exemptions. For example, if there's an emergency or if you're going to or from work, you're allowed to drive during these hours. You can also drive at this time if you're being supervised by an older adult.

As for the consequences? It depends, varying based on the infraction you commit and your location. However, you can generally expect:

  • Community service or after-school program
  • Fines, raising in cost as infractions stack
  • Jail or juvenile hall
  • Having your driver's license restricted

The last two are generally reserved for more severe offenses, or if you've driven past curfew multiple times. Sometimes, parents who allow their children to drive during the curfew hours can also face fines.

The enforcement of these curfews can differ from state to state. In some, police may become stricter during summer when the schools are out. In others, curfew may only be upheld if signs of crime are spotted. It's still a law that exists on paper, though, so risking it is not an advisable move.

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Ronald E. Smith, P.C.

criminal defense & Social security disability law

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