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Exercising Parental Authority

Curfew Violations

Parents should know the activities and whereabouts of their minor children (under 18 years old) and make sure that they are home during curfew hours, which is the period from 10:00 p.m. any evening of the week until 6:00 a.m. the following day in the City of San Diego. Minors can be cited for curfew violations under SDMC Sec. 58.0102, which also defines ten defenses to prosecution. These are summarized as follows:

  • Accompanied by the minor’s parent or guardian, or a responsible adult
  • On an errand at the direction of the minor’s parent or guardian, or a responsible adult, without any detour or stop
  • In a motor vehicle involved in interstate travel
  • In an employment activity, or going to or returning from an employment activity, without any detour or stop
  • Involved in an emergency
  • On the sidewalk abutting the minor’s residence
  • Attending or returning home from, without any detour or stop, an official school, religious, or other recreational activity supervised by adults and sponsored by the City of San Diego, a civic organization, or another similar entity that takes responsibility for the minor
  • Exercising or returning home from exercising, without any detour or stop, First Amendment rights protected by the U.S. Constitution
  • Travelling between activities listed above
  • Emancipated pursuant to law

In addition, parents can be cited if they knowingly permit or by insufficient control to allow the minor to be present in any public place or on the premises of any establishment within the City of San Diego during curfew hours. The San Diego City Council approved the present version of this ordinance by passing an emergency ordinance on Feb. 22, 2010 with minor language modifications to the existing ordinance because the California Court of Appeal for the Fourth District had ruled on Feb. 4, 2010 that the existing ordinance was unconstitutional.

Parents should be aware that the curfew hours vary by jurisdiction in the County of San Diego. For example, in the cities of Del Mar, Solana Beach, Poway, Escondido, Chula Vista, and Coronado they are from 11:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. Parents should check the curfew hours for any jurisdiction in which their children might drive at night. And the evening curfew time is an hour earlier than the time a child under the age of 18 with a provisional California driver license cannot drive without a licensed parent, guardian, other adult 25 years of age or older, or licensed or certified driving instructor in the vehicle.