What Are Common Mischief Night Charges in New Jersey?

New Jersey is one of the few places that celebrate the night before Halloween. This is most commonly referred to as Mischief Night, which occurs on Oct. 30 of each year. On Mischief Night, kids and teenagers will generally partake in activities such as tossing toilet paper and smashing pumpkins displayed for Halloween. However, sometimes these activities can escalate and result in extreme property damage, with severe penalties for criminal behavior. Each Halloween, criminal defense attorneys in NJ see an influx of juvenile offenders and criminal mischief charges. If you or your child is in this situation, do not wait to reach out to a Bergen County criminal defense attorney.

What is New Jersey’s mandatory curfew on Mischief Night?

Some New Jersey towns have enacted a mandatory curfew in order to combat Mischief Night damages. For example, towns in Monmouth County, NJ recently revealed curfews stretching from Oct. 29 through Nov. 1 that typically restrict people under the age of 18 from roaming the streets without an adult supervising or accompanying them. Curfew hours vary slightly but tend to start around 8 p.m. and end at 6 a.m. However, if an adult accompanies a minor they may be allowed to stay out past the curfew. Some towns in New Jersey also initiate a zero-tolerance policy. Juveniles who are found in possession of objects such as eggs, shaving cream, toilet paper, or paintball guns can be arrested and charged with a criminal offense. The best way to keep your children safe this Halloween, is to be extra conscientious of your children’s location and plans. To learn more about these restrictions, keep reading and give our legal team a call today.

What are common criminal charges obtained on Mischief Night?

There are several different criminal charges that are commonly given out to individuals on Mischief Night in New Jersey. Some of the most common include the following:

  • Criminal Mischief (N.J.S.A. 18A:6-7.1)
    Criminal mischief often appears on Mischief Night and Halloween. A juvenile can be charged with criminal mischief for activities such as throwing objects (like eggs or rocks) at moving vehicles, causing damage to private property, damaging public utilities, or damaging headstones in a cemetery (occurs more frequently than one may think on Halloween.)
  • Disorderly Conduct (N.J.S.A. 2C:33-2)
    Disorderly conduct is not charged to juveniles as often as criminal mischief. However, if police determine that someone is disturbing the peace or engaging in violent or dangerous behavior that surpasses a criminal mischief charge, a case for disorderly conduct can happen.
  • Trespassing (N.J.S.A. 2C:18-3)
    Juveniles taking part in Mischief Night are at high risk for trespassing charges. If your child enters private property without permission, he or she may be charged with trespassing. Trespassing laws also shield schools, which are oftentimes the target of Mischief Night.

Contact our firm today if you or your child have faced any of the above charges this Halloween season. Our legal team can help you protect your future.