Local Adoption of State Child Curfew Law



T.C.A. §39-17-1701, the Child Curfew Act of 1995, was introduced and enacted by the Tennessee General Assembly at the request of Shelby County. The Act set curfew hours between 11:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. for persons between the age of seventeen (17) and eighteen (18) Monday through Thursday with a 12:00 midnight to 6:00 a.m. curfew for Friday through Sunday. The law also establishes curfew between 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. for Monday through Thursday and 11:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. for Friday through Sunday for those under the age of sixteen (16). Originally, the Act was only applicable to Shelby County and those municipalities within Shelby County, provided a municipality concurred by a vote of its governing body. In 2007, the Act was amended to include Hardeman County and the municipalities within Hardeman County.


While municipalities currently have the authority to adopt local child curfew ordinances, enforcement of such ordinances is considerably less effective than that of a state law. A child found in violation of the state child curfew may be cited to juvenile court for an unruly act.

The Act also makes it a Class C misdemeanor for any parent or legal guardian to knowingly violate the law. Neither of these enforcement mechanisms are currently afforded municipalities that have adopted a local child curfew ordinance.

Proposed Legislation

Amend T.C.A. §39-17-1703 to allow any municipality or county within this state to adopt the state child curfew law by a majority vote of the local governing body.


By removing the population classifications, municipalities would be provided a more effective option for a child curfew law that would allow law enforcement officials and juvenile courts to more adequately address with juveniles and their parents or guardians problems associated with inadequate supervision.