An ordinance to establish a juvenile curfew.

WHEREAS, the Metropolitan Council 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 area of the Metropolitan Government resulting in juveniles, who are particularly susceptible by their lack of maturity and experience, being involved in a wide range of unlawful behavior including vandalism, public drinking and littering, and drug use; and

WHEREAS, the Metropolitan Government has an obligation to provide for the protection of juveniles from each other and from other persons, for the enforcement of parental control over and responsibility for children, for the protection of the general public, and for the reduction of the incidence of juvenile criminal activities; and

WHEREAS, the offensive activities of juveniles are not controlled by existing laws and ordinances; and

WHEREAS, a curfew for those under the age of 18 will be in the interest of the public health, safety, and general welfare and will help to attain the foregoing objectives and to diminish the undesirable impact of such conduct on the citizens of the Metropolitan Government and will promote the public good, safety and welfare; and

WHEREAS, parental responsibility for the whereabouts of children is the accepted norm and the Metropolitan Council has determined that a curfew ordinance will hold neglectful or careless parents to a reasonable community standard of parental responsibility and decrease juvenile delinquency.


Section 1. Sections 11.28.200 through 11.28.280 of the Metropolitan Code of Laws is amended by deleting those sections in their entirety and by substituting the following:

Section 11.28.200. Definitions

For the purposes of the 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 present tense included 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.

(a) CHIEF OF POLICE means the Chief of Police of the Metropolitan Government.

(b) EMERGENCY means an unforeseen combination of circumstances or the resulting state that calls for immediate action. The term includes, but is not limited to, a fire, natural disaster, or automobile accident, or any situation requiring immediate action to prevent serious bodily injury or loss of life.

(c) JUVENILE or MINOR is any unemancipated person under the age of eighteen (18) or, in equivalent phrasing often herein employed, any person seventeen (17) or less years of age.

(d) PARENT is any person having legal or physical custody of a juvenile (i) as a natural or adoptive parent, (ii) as a legal guardian, or (iii) as a person to whom legal or physical custody has been given by court order.

(e) PUBLIC PLACE means any place to which the public or a substantial group of the public has access and includes, but is not limited to, streets, common areas of schools, shopping centers, parking lots, parks, playgrounds, transportation facilities, theaters, restaurants, shops, bowling alleys, taverns, cafes, arcades, and similar areas that are open to the use of the public.

(f) PRIVATE PLACE means any place which is privately owned and includes, but is not limited to, buildings, motels, apartment complexes, trailer parks, railroad property, private schools, real property, and other similar areas that are not open to the public.

(g) STREET as a type of public place, is a way or place, of whatever nature, open to the use of the public as a matter of right for purposes of vehicular travel or in the case of a sidewalk thereof for pedestrian travel. Street includes that legal right of way including but not limited to the cartway of traffic lanes, the curb, the sidewalks whether paved or unpaved, and any grass plots or other grounds found within the legal right of way of a street.

Section 11.28.210. Curfew for Juveniles.

It shall be unlawful for any person seventeen (17) years of age or less [under (18)] to be or remain in or upon a public place, or a private place without consent of the property owner, leasee or a person of apparent authority acting on behalf of the leasee or owner, in Davidson County during the period ending at 5:00 a.m. and beginning:

(a) at 11:00 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 12:00 midnight Friday and Saturday between September 1st and May 31st, and

(b) at 12:00 midnight between June 1st and August 31st.

Section 11.28.220 Defenses

The following shall constitute defenses to violations charged under this ordinance:

This ordinance shall not apply:

(a) When a juvenile is accompanied by a parent of the juvenile.

(b) When a juvenile is accompanied by an adult authorized by a parent of the juvenile to take the parent's place in accompanying the juvenile for a designated period of time and purpose within a specified area.

(c) When the juvenile is on an errand as directed by the parent until the hour of 12:30 a.m.

(d) When a juvenile is 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. Such activity shall constitute an exception to this chapter when prior to such activity a written notice of the date, time, and place of the activity, signed by the juvenile and, if practicable, a parent of the juvenile, together with the name and address of the juvenile, has been received by the Chief of Police or a person designated by him to receive such information.

(e) Until the hour of 12:30 a.m. if the juvenile is on the property of or the sidewalk directly adjacent to the place where such juvenile resides or a place immediately adjacent to the juveniles' residence if the owner of the adjacent property has given consent.

(f) When a juvenile is attending, or traveling directly to or from home without detour or stop, from an official activity supervised by adults and sponsored by the Metropolitan Government, a religious or civic organization, or another similar adult supervised entity that takes responsibility for the juvenile.

(g) In the case of reasonable necessity, but only after the juvenile's parent has communicated to law enforcement personnel the facts establishing the reasonable necessity, as well as the origin, destination and route of travel, the time of travel, and the place of the activity. Proof of the communication, including a notation of the time it was received by law enforcement, names and addresses of the parent and juvenile, and the police personnel notified, constitute evidence of qualification under this exception. This may be handled by telephone or other effective communication.

(h) While the juvenile is engaged in legal employment and for the period from forty-five (45) minutes before to forty-five (45) minutes after work, while going directly between the juvenile's home and place of employment. The juvenile must be carrying written evidence of employment which is issued by the employer;

(i) When the juvenile is engaged in normal interstate travel with parental consent.

Section 11.28.230. Parental Responsibility.

It shall be unlawful for a parent of a juvenile to permit, either knowingly or negligently, the juvenile to remain in or on any public place, or private place without consent of the property owner, in Davidson County under circumstances not constituting an exception listed in Section 11.28.220 herein. The term "knowingly" includes knowledge that a parent should reasonable be expected to have concerning the whereabouts of a juvenile in that parent's legal custody. This requirement is intended to hold a neglectful or careless parent 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.

If a juvenile satisfies an exception under Section 11.28.220, the juvenile's parent may not be prosecuted under this parental responsibility section.

Section 11.28.240. Enforcement Procedures.

When any juvenile is in violation of this ordinance, the apprehending officer shall take action in one of the following ways:

(1) in the case of a first violation and if in the opinion of the officer such action would be effective, take the juvenile to the juvenile's home and warn and counsel with the parent(s);

(2) issue a juvenile citation;

(3) bring the child into the custody of the juvenile court, which in addition to any other disposition provided by law, may assess a penalty; or

(4) issue a citation to the parent for violation of Section 11.28.230, Parental Responsibility.

The Juvenile Court may, as part of the disposition of the case, assess a penalty against the juvenile for each violation of this Ordinance. In addition to or in lieu of a penalty the Juvenile Court may require the juvenile to perform community service.

Pursuant to Chapter 191, Public Acts of 1995, the juvenile court may assess a penalty in an amount not to exceed fifty dollars ($ 50.00) against a parent violating the provisions of this ordinance. Each violation of this ordinance shall constitute a separate offense.

Section 11.28.250. Construction and Severability.

(a) Severability is intended throughout and within the provisions of the Ordinance. If any provision, including any exception, part, phrase, or term, or the application thereof to any person or circumstances is held invalid, the application to other persons or circumstances shall not be affected thereby and the validity of the Ordinance or the other parts thereof shall not be affected thereby in any and all respects.

11.28.260. Curfew – Continuing Evaluation.

The Office of the Mayor shall periodically review statistics related to the enforcement of this ordinance, including, but not limited to, the manner in which violations are handled under the provisions of Section 11.28.240 above. The Chief of Police shall maintain such information in a manner in which it may be produced within a reasonable time upon request.

11.28.270. Curfew – Notice.

Adequate notice of the existence of Sections 11.28.200 through 11.28.280 and of the curfew established by them shall be given periodically.

11.28.280. Curfew – Expiration date.

Sections 11.28.200 through 11.28.280 shall expire and shall be null and void after the 30th day of June, 2005, unless extended by resolution of the Council of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County. This provision, commonly known as a "sunset provision," is included in this section to ensure that sections 11.28.200 through 11.28.280, their effectiveness, and their necessity are reviewed periodically, after their adoption, by the Metropolitan Council.

Section 2. That this Ordinance shall take effect from and after its final passage, the welfare of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County and the people requiring it.

Sponsored by: Craig Jenkins, Janis Sontany, Tony Derryberry, Amanda McClendon & Bob Bogen


Introduced: October 5, 1999
Passed First Reading: October 5, 1999
Referred to: Public Safety Committee
Passed Second Reading: October 19, 1999
Passed Third Reading: November 16, 1999
Approved: November 18, 1999
By: Mayor's signature