Juvenile Criminal Charges after Curfew in New Jersey

In New Jersey, many municipalities set a summer curfew for juveniles, prohibiting them from being out past a certain time without an adult. As you might expect, many municipalities at the Jersey Shore have enacted curfews to restrict minors from being out late at night. There are currently 10 municipalities in Ocean County with curfews that are strictly enforced by local police. Typically, curfews begin around 10 pm and last until 5 am. If your juvenile son or daughter breaks the curfew law of a particular municipality, expect the police to be on watch and to scrutinize any other actions engaged in by young people who are out past curfew.

Have you ever heard the saying, “Nothing good happens after 10 pm?” Whether that is true or not, it is a sentiment that is often in the minds of law enforcement patrolling areas with a juvenile curfew in force. Sometimes, for young people, it is not enough to simply be told not to do something. Some argue that prohibiting the freedom of a juvenile to go about as they please during summer nights can make staying out past curfew even more appealing than if no such rule existed. Regardless of your take on the issue, it is important for parents to be aware of some of the charges and penalties that can arise from breaking curfew and common accompanying criminal charges for juveniles.

Breaking Curfew Ordinance Violation at the Jersey Shore

If “because I said so” does not inspire adherence to municipal curfew laws, juveniles should know that if the police find them out during curfew hours, they (or their parents) may be facing fines of up to $1,000 and community service for a municipal ordinance violation. Additional towns along the Jersey Shore are considering establishing curfews and many have predicted more to come. For instance, political leaders in Beach Haven are currently in talks about mandating a juvenile curfew to prevent disruptive behavior by underage people after dark in the beach town.

Trespassing Charges After Juvenile Curfew

While being out after curfew is not in and of itself trespassing, sometimes when a group of teenagers get together one thing can lead to another. Trespassing is a common juvenile offense that the police may charge after picking up a juvenile for breaking curfew if they have unlawfully entered onto the property of another person. There are a few different types of trespass: defiant trespass, which is a petty disorderly persons offense, or unlicensed entry into a structure, which can be charged as a disorderly person offense or a fourth degree indictable offense if you trespass on school property, a dwelling, or a research facility.

As a petty disorderly persons offense, defiant trespassing can carry up to 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $500. If unlicensed entry into a structure is charged as a disorderly person offense, penalties include up to 6 months of juvenile detention and a fine of up to $1,000, but if it is a fourth degree offense, the penalties can be as high as 18 months of juvenile detention and up to $10,000 in fines.

Juvenile Charged with Possession of Marijuana

If the police find a juvenile out past curfew and they are charged with possession of marijuana, the potential penalties are very serious. If caught with 50 grams or less of marijuana, it is a disorderly person offense, and if the juvenile if adjudicated delinquent, they face up to six months in juvenile detention. If they are caught with more than 50 grams of marijuana, it is a fourth degree indictable offense and they could face up to one year in juvenile detention and a fine of up to $25,000.

Juvenile Caught After Curfew Down the Shore?

If your teen has been charged with violating curfew law or a criminal offense stemming from their violation of curfew law, the experienced criminal defense lawyers at William Proetta Criminal Law are here to help. Call us today at (848) 238-2100 and we will review your son or daughter’s case and discuss your options free of charge. With significant penalties that can make it more difficult to be accepted to competitive universities, receive scholarship funds, and be hired for certain job positions, it is important to have a lawyer at your side who is very familiar with these types of cases and can make strong arguments on your child’s behalf. You can also contact us online to arrange a free consultation.

With more than a decade of experience defending clients against criminal charges, founding partner William A. Proetta has successfully handled and tried thousands of cases, from DWI to murder. As a New Jersey native, he has focused his career on helping people in the area where he grew up, serving Middlesex, Ocean, Hudson, and Union counties.