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Q

I am 17 years old from New Jersey. I have a provisional license, and I just want to know what the times are that I can be out until. My dad says I'm only allowed out until 11 because that's what the curfew is, but I thought I was allowed out until 12 Midnight? A paper I read said anyone under 18 is not permitted out after 11, but does that apply to me since I have a license and it says I'm allowed out until 12 Midnight?


A

The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) states that you must observe the following requirements and restrictions while driving with a provisional license:

  • No driving between 12:01 a.m. and 5 a.m. See GDL Exemptions for exceptions due to employment or religious reasons
  • Passengers must be from your household. Only one additional person from outside your household is allowed in the vehicle
  • You can't use cell phones, hand held video games or any other hand held electronic device
  • Seat belts must be worn at all times
  • See GDL Exemptions for hours-related exemptions for employment or religious reasons

The GDL Exemptions sections states that all drivers under 21 that wish to apply for hours-related exemptions for employment or religious reasons must provide legible documentation on letterhead signed by employer, organization or religious institution stating the reasons for this request. It must include signature, title, address and telephone number of designated official.

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So NJ licensing laws allow a person with a provisional license to drive up to 12, midnight but if there are local laws that restrict you being out that late then you would be restricted to the curfew hours your city or township has in place.

For example Camden, NJ officials were proposing to change the curfew on weekends from 11:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. for minors. This changed when they discovered that the state of NJ does not allow curfews any earlier than 10:00. So the city of Camden has a curfew in place that minors must follow, whether they have a license or not. Camden's current curfew is 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Woodbridge, NJ also has a curfew in place. A curfew in Woodbridge started in 1994 and applies to anyone under age 17 who is outside from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. Law enforcement in this area states that the curfew serves as more of a warning to parents. The teens are not arrested, but are instead brought home to explain the situation to their guardians, who will fill out a release form.

In Woodbridge the police then sends out an official letter highlighting the terms of the curfew measure that is in place. A first time offender of the curfew hours will merely receive a warning. Repeat offenders of the curfew would face fines of $200 and up for their parents.

You will need to check and make sure your area of NJ does not have curfew laws in affect for teenagers that require you to be home by 11 p.m. as your father stated. If your area of NJ does has a curfew in place then unless you have legally accepted documents proving that you can be out past curfew then you will need to be in by that hour.

So if there is a curfew of 11 p.m. where you live then you could only be out driving until 11 p.m., even if in other parts of NJ you could drive until 12 a.m. with your provisional license. In essence the city curfew trumps the restricted hours of your license type.


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