El Paso

Council renews teen curfew law another 3 years

Council renews teen curfew law...

The City Council on Tuesday reviewed a curfew ordinance presentation by the El Paso Police Department.

The Texas government code requires home-rule municipalities to review the curfew ordinance every three years.

The curfew ordinance was established in 1991.

"The purpose of the ordinance is to help deter and reduce the opportunity for our youth to engage in negative or harmful behavior or worse to become a victim of crime," Assistant Chief Zina Silva said.

The curfew hours are 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Curfew hours within the city are for juveniles ages of 10-16.

Juveniles between those ages are not allowed to be present in any public place or on the premises of any establishment
within the city limits during curfew hours.

There are five exemptions to the curfew law.

1) If a juvenile is accompanied by parents.

2) If a juvenile is on a errand and has a note from parents.

3) If a juvenile is in a motor vehicle engaged in interstate travel -- passing through El Paso.

4) If a juvenile is engaged in employment activity.

5) If a juvenile is involved in a emergency.

Statistics reported by El Paso police show a decrease in curfew citations.

In 2014, 631 curfew citations were issued. In 2015, 575 curfew citations were issued and in 2016, 487 citations were issued.

If a juvenile is issued a citation the fine can be up to $500.

A judge can decide if a  juvenile may receive deferred adjudication such as community service.

District 7 Rep. Henry Rivera, a former El Paso police officer said,"It's an effective tool for the department and keeps the youth really out of trouble."
    
A few council members discussed the $500 fine saying it was too steep for a teenager to pay. The members agreed to discuss possibly bringing down the fine before Sept. 1.

The continuation of the curfew ordinance was passed by city council and will continue in effect for the next three years.
   


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