What to expect if your child gets arrested on mischief night
Mischief Night has been an unofficial holiday in many parts of New Jersey and across the U.S. While the event usually involves harmless pranks and fun, sometimes, young people can take their antics too far, causing serious property damage or even injuries to others. As a result, many towns and cities have been cracking down on young people participating in Mischief Night to prevent any criminal activity.
If you have a child or teenager who goes out to participate in Mischief Night, you should understand the risks they may face if they have a run-in with the police, and the consequences they might face if they are arrested for committing a crime.
What is “Mischief Night”?
Mischief Night is an informal holiday that takes place on the night before Halloween (the night of October 30). “Celebrated” as far back as the 18th century, the event has been observed by young people in the U.S., the United Kingdom, and Germany.
On Mischief Night, children and teenagers go out and play pranks on their neighbors and community. Many pranks played by young people on Mischief Night are relatively harmless, such as “ding-dong-ditch.” Other pranks, such as toilet papering someone’s property or smashing a pumpkin or jack-o-lantern, don’t really cause any harm even though the clean-up may be frustrating for a property owner.
However, in recent years young people have been devising pranks that have the potential to cause serious property damage or injury, such as vandalism or starting fires. Where “pranks” can cause costly or permanent property damage or put people at risk of injury, the police are far more likely to get involved and arrest the pranksters.
Common Criminal Offenses Committed by Juveniles on Mischief Night
Some of the most common criminal offenses that juveniles are arrested for on Mischief Night include:
- Criminal mischief — An offense that is charged when negligent or reckless damages leads to property damage
- Arson — Charged when a fire is started with the intent to cause damage to a structure or other property
- Disorderly conduct — Charged when someone engages in hazardous behavior for no legitimate purpose
- Assault and battery
- Trespassing — Can be charged when a young person is caught on someone else’s property without permission
- Theft/burglary — Theft involves taking the property of another person, while burglary refers to breaking into a dwelling with the intent to commit a crime inside
- Recklessly endangering another person — Can be charged when someone engages in behavior that consciously disregards the risk of serious injury to another person
How Parents Can Prevent Issues on Mischief Night
Parents can help prevent their children from having run-ins with law enforcement on Mischief Night by sitting down to talk to them about what sorts of behaviors are acceptable and not acceptable, as well as the risks they may face if they choose to participate. Another way of preventing issues is to get together with your neighbors to approve certain pranks that children are allowed to play on the block. So long as neighbors agree to play along with certain pranks, there is no risk of the police getting involved.
If your child is arrested on Mischief Night, it is critical that you speak to a juvenile criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to discuss your child’s legal rights and options.
Contact an Experienced Clark Criminal Defense Lawyer About Your Juvenile Charges in New Jersey
Were you arrested or charged with juvenile crimes in New Jersey? The consequences of a conviction could be severe, leaving you with a permanent criminal record and possibly even sending you to jail. That is why you need to speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney as soon as possible about your case. The attorneys at Team Law have successfully represented clients charged with juvenile offenses in Clifton, Trenton, Camden, Passaic, and throughout New Jersey. Call (732) 540-1394 or fill out the online contact form to schedule a consultation with a member of our legal team. We have an office conveniently located at 136 Central Ave., Clark, NJ 07066, as well as offices located in West New York, Perth Amboy, Edison, Summit, Newark, New Brunswick, Orange, Plainfield, and Jersey City.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.