What Are California Curfew Laws?

California curfew laws are regulations that forbid minors or those under the age of 18, from being outdoors in public places at certain specified times of the day. These laws vary by jurisdiction. For example, the cities of San Diego and Los Angeles require minors to be home between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. Minors can be out during these hours if accompanied by a parent or guardian.

There are no statewide curfew laws in California. Some municipalities have adopted curfew laws that apply to unaccompanied minors. Some apply only to minors operating a motor vehicle, while others apply to minors being in any public place.

Several exceptions to the laws allow minors to be out unaccompanied, however -- if they are on an errand assigned by their parent or guardian, if they're traveling to or from work or school, or if they're returning from a civic or recreational activity. Minors are also allowed on the sidewalks adjacent to their home after curfew. These laws do not apply to minors who are legally emancipated.

Los Angeles has an additional "daytime curfew" during school hours. Minors under the age of 18 cannot be in public places when school is in session. Many of the same exceptions that apply to nighttime curfews also apply here, however.