Teenagers may think they can make their own rules, but you, the parent, are ultimately responsible for your teenager's safety and well-being. Indiana has specific rules about how a parent is responsible for keeping a teenager safe and supervised with the curfew laws. Familiarize yourself with the curfew laws to help keep your teen, and yourself, out of trouble.
Indiana state law states that children ages 15 to 17 are breaking curfew if they are in a public place between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. on Saturday or Sunday, or after 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, or before 5 a.m. Monday through Friday. Children under the age of 15 are violating curfew if they are in a public place after 11 p.m. or before 5 a.m. on any day. Once a police officer has determined that your child is breaking curfew without meeting one of the exceptions to the law, he is able to either detail your child or take him into custody.
There are several exceptions to Indiana State curfew laws, including if your child has been married or emancipated, and therefore the parents no longer have legal responsibility or consequences due to the child's actions, or if the child is accompanied by his parent or guardian, who is therefore directly responsible for the child at that time, or if the child is legally employed during those hours, attending a school activity, a religious event, or an emergency. You may also consent to your child staying out past curfew in writing, or allow your child to be out past curfew in the care of another adult for school, employment, or recreational purposes.
While Indiana State Law does not give specific consequences to parents whose teens break curfew, many states and towns in Indiana do. South Bend, Indiana law states that parents are to be held responsible if their kids break curfew and even charge the parents a fine for their child's offense. Indianapolis and Marion, Indiana have laws stating that parents are indeed responsible for their children's actions when it comes to breaking curfew, assigning consequences to the parents once the teen has reached his second offense. Parents may also encounter other consequences if their teen is unsupervised and gets into other trouble, as Indiana does have parental responsibility laws beyond curfew laws.
While teens may suffer the embarrassment and upset of being detained by the police, or even arrested, parents will likely be the ones paying the fine whether mandated by the court or not. As of 2013, if you live in a city like South Bend, you could be charged anywhere from $25.00 for the first time your teen breaks curfew to $200 for a third and any subsequent offenses. Other cities, like Indianapolis and Marion, retain the right to choose a fine or to take other actions, which could keep the teen break breaking curfew again. Likewise, if your teen injured herself or others while unsupervised and out after curfew, you could be charged with parental neglect, which could include either misdemeanor or felony charges and their appropriate punishments.