Utah Teen Curfew Laws

By Maria Magher
Teenagers are out partying.
Teenagers are out partying.

Teenagers in Utah can face much more than being grounded if they are caught out after hours. While exact public curfew times differ depending on the age of the teen and the specific city, Utah state law defines curfew as between midnight and 6 a.m. If teens younger than 18 violate these laws, they can face community service and fines, and they may be ordered to enroll in counseling.

State Curfew Law

Utah's state curfew law says that teenagers 18 and younger cannot be in a public or semipublic place between the hours of midnight and 6 a.m. any day of the week. A semipublic place includes the area that a teen travels between two private places, such as driving from home to a friend's home. The curfew laws do not apply to a teen's presence in a private place, such as a friend's home. The laws do apply to teenagers whether they are driving or walking.

Local Curfew Laws

Local city or county curfew laws take precedence over state curfew laws in Utah. For example, Salt Lake City has a law banning children younger than 16 from being out between the hours of 11 p.m. and 5 a.m., meaning teenagers in this age group in Salt Lake City can be penalized for being out at 11 p.m., even though the state law says they can be out until midnight. Salt Lake City moves the curfew hours to midnight to 5 a.m. for 16- and 17-year-olds. Therefore, teenagers in this age group who are out at 5 a.m. will not be penalized, even though state laws would penalize them in other cities.

Curfew Exceptions

State and city curfew laws provide exceptions for some teenagers. Teenagers who are married, accompanied by a parent or guardian, traveling to work, working, responding to an emergency or participating in a First Amendment activity such as protest are exempt from the curfew laws. Teenagers participating in a school or religious activity, such as a field trip, are also exempt. Local exemptions are very similar. For example, in Layton, the exemptions are the same except for the allowance for First Amendment activities.

Curfew Enforcement

Police will escort teenagers home if they are found violating curfew. If a parent cannot be found, teenagers may be kept at a government facility -- though not a detention facility. Violations of curfew are considered Class C misdemeanors, and teenagers or their parents who are found guilty may be sentenced with up to 10 hours of community service. They may also be ordered to attend counseling. Some courts may also charge a small fee.

About the Author

Maria Magher has been working as a professional writer since 2001. She has worked as an ESL teacher, a freshman composition teacher and an education reporter, writing for regional newspapers and online publications. She has written about parenting for Pampers and other websites. She has a Master's degree in English and creative writing.