In an attempt to keep teens safe, local authorities in Midland County, located in west Texas, have instituted and upheld a 12-year curfew. Between the hours of midnight and 6 a.m., all youth ages 17 and under are required to be supervised by a parent, according to the county sheriff's office. Whether within the city of Midland's borders or within the county's, those age 17 and under are expected to follow the ordinance.
Is There a Curfew in the County?
A curfew has been in place for the past 12 years, Price Robinson, interim chief of the Midland Police Department, told reporters for News West 9. The times have always been within the same range, of midnight through 6 a.m. The Midland County Sheriff's Office noted that the ordinance is followed throughout the county, no matter which community the underage person may reside in or be found breaking the ordinance. Bianca Rodriguez, the Midland Police Department's Telephone Response Unit supervisor, said that the curfew has been in place since she has worked for the department. Robinson has credited the program with "curbing underage drinking" and the "suppression gang units."
Who Must Follow Curfew?
Rodriguez said that all residents age 17 and under are included in the curfew. The Midland County Sheriff's Office confirmed that youth throughout the county must follow the same ordinance as the city. In other words, those that are not legally adults must obey the ordinance, no matter their location in Midland County. Those under age 18 must have a parent's permission, be in the presence of a parent or guardian or be indoors by 12:01 a.m. each day, seven days per week. The ordinance is in place year-round, though the department notes that summer time hours, or those during which students are out of school, are the ones that require the most patrolling.
Are There Exceptions?
According to TRU supervisor Rodriguez, there are a few exceptions to the rule. "If they are going to or from work," the teen may be permitted to travel between the hours of midnight and 6 a.m., despite the ordinance, she said. "They also may be in a vehicle that is involved in interstate travel," said Rodriguez. "Parents may also give permission for them to run an errand, for example." Other than the mentioned circumstances, only in the case of an emergency may teens be excused from the curfew, according to Rodriguez.
Consequences of Breaking Curfew
Depending on the reasoning, each teen's consequences may vary. According to News West 9, the ordinance states that a fine may be issued in an amount up to $500. Rodriguez said that the fine amount may vary, dependent on the views of the municipal courts. Based on the reasoning, number of offenses and teen's history, the courts may change the amount of the fine. "They will get a fine unless they are with a parent," said Rodriguez of teens breaking curfew.