Mischief Night is a time honored tradition that involves “TP-ing” houses, smashing pumpkins or tossing eggs against houses. Sounds like harmless fun but, in fact, it’s against the law. In New Jersey, criminal mischief is defined as trespassing or vandalism. You may think of criminal mischief as something more serious such as graffiti or breaking a window. However, Halloween pranks most definitely qualify.
In NJ, if you are charged with criminal mischief, you can be facing a minor disorderly persons offense all the way up to a second degree crime. Punishments vary and the police officer will arrest you and charge you with a crime that could involve jail time — all because you were having fun and thinking you couldn’t get caught. It’s not unusual for kids to get involved with these types of activities, especially on Halloween. Kids will be kids and they go along with the crowd. However, if they get arrested and charged with criminal behavior, it will no longer be all fun and games.
If you are charged with a property crime or breaking and entering, which may happen if that “egg” breaks a window, for example, the consequences will be even more severe. You need an aggressive criminal defense lawyer if you or your children are facing these charges.
Your best bet is to focus on fun and treats. Leave the tricks and the crimes to the movies.
Contact John W. Tumelty in Atlantic City, Marmora or Somers Point for a free consultation about criminal mischief charges. He offers free in-person and phone consultations. Mr. Tumelty knows the laws and what to do to fight these charges. If your child is underage, we will fight to keep the hearing in juvenile court. Mr. Tumelty will fight to protect your family.