September 19, 2023
The United States is a free country, and because of that, our citizens are allowed to move freely from one place to another. However, this comes with a few restrictions — especially if you’re a minor. In Colorado, minors don’t simply need to contend with the rules their parents give them, but the state as well.
Failure to comply with curfew laws in Colorado can result in legal consequences. Here’s what you need to know about Colorado’s SafeNite Program, what happens when a teen violates these laws, and the potential consequences they can face.
What Is Colorado’s SafeNite Program?
Curfews for minors are nothing new in Colorado. In fact, they’ve been in effect since the 1990s. The problem is that many minors and their parents didn’t really know about them. That’s where the SafeNite Program comes into play.
The curfew law states that minors under 17 cannot be in public without an adult after 11 on school nights or after 12 on weekends. The purpose of the law is to help kids steer clear of danger, not to ensnare them in the juvenile justice system.
The reasoning behind the law is that there’s a significant amount of crime that takes place after curfew hours. By keeping kids off the streets, lawmakers hope to help them avoid being caught up in those crimes. Minors caught after curfew will be taken into custody by juvenile services and parents will be contacted.
Are There Exemptions to Colorado Curfew Laws?
There are some exemptions built into the law that allow minors to legally be out for certain activities after curfew. These exemptions can vary from place to place, but in general, minors are exempted if:
- They’re accompanied by an adult, such as a guardian or parent
- They’re traveling to or from work
- They’re attending religious or school events
- They’re running errands under the instruction of an adult
- There is an emergency
The Penalties for Breaking Curfew Laws in Colorado
There is a wide range of penalties that can accompany juvenile curfew laws. They include:
- Fines, which may increase depending on the violations
- Restriction of driving privileges
- Community service or participation in an after-school program
- Possible detention in juvenile hall or jail
If a parent allows their child to knowingly violate curfew for a reason outside of the accepted exceptions, then the parent may also be subject to fines or other forms of punishment.
To find out what the specific laws in your jurisdiction are, as well as their associated penalties, you should contact local authorities. Your local police department should have the information you need — and if they don’t, then they can certainly point you in the correct direction.
Colorado Juvenile Diversion Programs
A common way that minor curfew-breakers are dealt with in Colorado is through juvenile diversion programs. Diversion programs are meant to be an alternative to juvenile detention or jail and is a common tactic for first-time offenders.
Juvenile diversion programs may involve an element of probation or counseling and require the minor to demonstrate excellent conduct to finish the program. Youth programs often seek to engage minors that are deemed at-risk in activities that will help them to reduce offenses in the future. They will identify any underlying issues that cause the minor to violate curfew and provide support to them and their family to help them make positive changes.
Curfew is something for everyone to take seriously, so understand the laws in your community surrounding it so you don’t get caught unaware of the potential consequences.
About the Author:
Denver-based criminal defense and DUI attorney Jacob E. Martinez is a knowledgeable and experienced litigator with a record of success providing innovative solutions to clients facing criminal charges of any severity. Mr. Martinez has been recognized by countless legal organizations for his exemplary defense work, including Avvo, Best DWI Attorneys, Expertise, Lawyers of Distinction, The National Trial Lawyers, and others. He was also named one of the 10 Best in Client Satisfaction in Colorado by the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys for 2020, and is Lead Counsel rated.