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San Diego

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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 p.m. any evening of the week until 6 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) 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 current 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. 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 (on each end) than the California curfew for those under 18 driving with a provisional license (without a licensed parent, guardian, other adult 25 years of age or older, or licensed or certified driving instructor in the vehicle).

If you have additional questions about San Diego Police Department Recruiting, see the Frequently Asked Questions, call 619-531-COPS (2677) or email

If you have an emergency, dial 9-1-1.

To access 9-1-1 from a cell phone or outside San Diego, dial 619-531-2065.

For 24-hour non-emergencies, dial 619-531-2000 or 858-484-3154.