Chapter 8.21


8.21.010    Purpose of provisions.

8.21.020    Definitions.

8.21.030    Youth curfew prohibition.

8.21.040    Exemptions.

8.21.050    Enforcement procedure.

8.21.060    Violation—Penalty.

8.21.010 Purpose of provisions.

There has been an increase in juvenile violence, juvenile gang activity, and crime by persons under the age of 18 years in Santa Cruz County, and persons under the age of 18 years are particularly susceptible by their lack of maturity and experience to become victims of older perpetrators of crime, or to participate in unlawful activities during late night hours. The Board of Supervisors has determined that passage of a curfew ordinance will protect the welfare of minors and the general welfare of all persons in the County by:

(A)    Reducing the likelihood that minors will be the victims of criminal acts during the curfew hours;

(B)    Reducing the likelihood that minors will become involved in criminal acts or be exposed to narcotics trafficking during the curfew hours; and

(C)    Aiding parents and guardians in carrying out their responsibility to exercise reasonable supervision of minors entrusted to their care. [Ord. 4402 § 1, 1996].

8.21.020 Definitions.

As used in this chapter:

(A)    “Curfew hours” means the hours between 11:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. for minors under the age of 18 years.

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

(C)    “Establishment” means any privately owned place of business to which the public is invited, including but not limited to any place of amusement, entertainment, or recreation.

(D)    “Guardian” means:

(1)    A person who, under court order, is the guardian of the person of a minor; or

(2)    A public or private agency with whom a minor has been placed by a court; or

(3)    A person who is at least 18 years of age and authorized by a parent or guardian to have the care and custody of a minor.

(E)    “Minor” means any person under 18 years of age.

(F)    “Parent” means a person who is a natural parent, adoptive parent or step-parent of a minor.

(G)    “Public place” means:

(1)    Any outdoor area to which the public or a substantial group of the public has access, including, but not limited to, streets, highways, sidewalks, alleys, parks, playgrounds, or other public grounds; and

(2)    The outdoor common areas of an establishment, including, but not limited to, entryways and parking lots.

(H)    “Remain” means to:

(1)    Linger or stay; or

(2)    Fail to leave a public place when directed to do so by a law enforcement officer or the person in control of the public place.

(I)    “Serious bodily injury” means 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.

(J)    “Tarry” means remaining, wandering, strolling or playing without apparent purpose and while not under the control or supervision of a parent, guardian or adult designated by a parent or guardian. [Ord. 5304 § 18, 2019; Ord. 4402 § 1, 1996].

8.21.030 Youth curfew prohibition.

It is unlawful for an unemancipated minor (under the age of 18) to tarry in any public place between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. [Ord. 4402 § 1, 1996].

8.21.040 Exemptions.

A minor under the age of 18 shall not be in violation of this chapter if, at the time the minor was stopped by a law enforcement officer, the minor was:

(A)    Accompanied by the minor’s parent or guardian;

(B)    On an errand at the direction of the minor’s parent or guardian, without detour or stop;

(C)    In a motor vehicle involved in interstate travel;

(D)    Engaged in a lawful employment activity, or going to or returning home from a lawful employment activity, without detour or stop;

(E)    Acting in response to an emergency;

(F)    On the sidewalk abutting the minor’s residence or abutting the residence which is immediately adjacent to the minor’s residence;

(G)    Returning directly home, without detour or stop, from a school, religious, cultural, sport, amusement, entertainment, movie or recreation activity; or any organized rally, demonstration, meeting or similar activity;

(H)    Waiting at a train or bus station for transportation;

(I)    Emancipated in accordance with the California Family Code or other applicable State law. [Ord. 5304 § 18, 2019; Ord. 4402 § 1, 1996].

8.21.050 Enforcement procedure.

(A)    Before taking any enforcement action under SCCC 8.21.030, a law enforcement officer shall ask the apparent offender’s age and reason for being in the public place.

(B)    The officer shall not take enforcement action under this chapter unless the officer has probable cause to believe that no exemption under SCCC 8.21.040 applies. [Ord. 5304 § 18, 2019; Ord. 4402 § 1, 1996].

8.21.060 Violation—Penalty.

Any person violating the provisions of this chapter shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. Any minor violating the provisions of this chapter shall be dealt with in accordance with juvenile court law and procedure. [Ord. 4402 § 1, 1996].