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FOCUS: ORANGE COUNTY COMMUNITY NEWS | Countywide

Curfew Now 11 P.M. in Unincorporated Areas

April 24, 1998|JEAN O. PASCO

Teenagers in the county's unincorporated areas will have an extra hour before a nighttime curfew kicks in, according to revisions approved this week by the Board of Supervisors.

The ordinance changed the curfew's starting time from 10 to 11 p.m. The change reflects a recent court decision in San Diego County where a curfew law was successfully challenged. A judge there agreed that 10 p.m. was too early to start requiring juveniles to be at home.

The county's curfew ordinance has been on the books for decades. "I guess this is the '90s," said Sheriff's Lt. Tom Garner of the new time restrictions, from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.

During those hours, juveniles can be stopped by officers and escorted home or taken into custody. Exceptions include juveniles coming to or from jobs, those on approved family errands, those accompanied by a parent, guardian or other responsible adult, children in a motor vehicle involved in interstate travel or the attendance of an official school, religious or recreational activity supervised by adults or organized by a civic organization that takes responsibility for the minor getting home.

"It's a tool for officers in the field, but we didn't want something that potentially could have been found invalid" by a court, Garner said. "It's a useful tool. It's a means of being able to talk to kids and find out what they're doing. If they don't have anything to do, maybe they should go home."

The new curfew affects only the county's unincorporated areas. Most cities in the county have their own curfew restrictions.

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