DC Curfew Law: The Juvenile Curfew Act

Keeping Minors Safe in the District of Columbia

Teens hanging out after curfew
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Did you know that DC has a curfew law? The Juvenile Curfew Act of 1995 was enacted to keep minors safe and out of trouble in the nation’s capital. The curfew law states that persons under the age of 17 “cannot remain in or on a street, park or other outdoor public places, in a vehicle or on the premises of any establishment within the District of Columbia during curfew hours.”

DC Curfew Hours

Sunday - Thursday: 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.
Friday - Saturday: 12:01 a.m. until 6 a.m.
During July and August, curfew hours are from 12:01 a.m. until 6 a.m. each day.

If a juvenile violates the curfew law, their parent or legal guardian can be held responsible and subject to a fine of up to $500. A minor who violates curfew may be ordered to perform up to 25 hours of community service.

The DC curfew law applies to all persons under the age of 17, regardless of where they reside. According to The Juvenile Curfew Act of 1995, persons under the age of 17 are exempt from curfew if they:

  • Accompany a parent or guardian
  • Complete an errand at the direction of a parent or guardian, without detour or stop
  • Ride in a motor vehicle involved in interstate travel
  • Work or return home from a job, without detour or stop
  • Become involved in an emergency
  • Stand on a sidewalk that joins their residence or the residence of a next-door neighbor, if the neighbor did not complain to the police
  • Attend an official school, religious, or other recreational activity sponsored by the District of Columbia, a civic organization, or another similar group that takes responsibility for the juvenile (this includes traveling to and from the activity)
  • Exercise their First Amendment rights protected by the US Constitution, including the free exercise of speech, religion, and right of assembly

Alternative Programs and Centers

For more information on recreational and counseling services, contact the District's Answers Please! Helpline at (202) INFO-211 (463-6211) or online at answersplease.dc.gov.

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