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I appeared on three local news programs Tuesday to talk about my investigation of San Diego’s curfew sweeps and to my surprise, each program grilled me on a question I wasn’t entirely sure how to answer.

They asked me to describe the possible fine for violating San Diego’s curfew law, which prohibits minors from being out after 10 p.m. The law includes some exceptions, such as traveling between church and school-related activities.

I heard a couple years ago that the possible fine for violating curfew was more than $100 so that’s what I said on the news programs. But I wasn’t certain on the amount, so I followed up Tuesday afternoon with Karen Dalton, a spokeswoman for the San Diego Superior Court.

She confirmed that the possible fine is more than $100 but also provided a lot more detail about how the court normally responds to curfew violations. It can impose a maximum fine of $250 but more often orders classes or community service, Dalton wrote in an email.

“Most of the time, the minor completes community service and is therefore not required to pay the fine,” Dalton wrote.

Jonathan Heller, a spokesman for the City Attorney’s Office, also reminded me that the city’s curfew law outlines possible fines for adults, too. Police have discretion to cite parents for allowing their children to be out after curfew.

If that violation is filed as a misdemeanor and the court follows sentencing guidelines, parents face a minimum $790 fine, Dalton wrote. Other factors, such as repeat offenses, can drive the amount up.

Keegan Kyle is a news reporter for voiceofsandiego.org. He writes about local government, creates infographics and handles the Fact Check Blog. What should he write about next?

Please contact him directly at keegan.kyle@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.550.5668. You can also find him on Twitter (@keegankyle) and Facebook.

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