Loitering in New Jersey
Loitering is the act of hanging around or lingering in a public place with no valid purpose for being there. A good example is when high school students hang around a local liquor store. Many states have the statutes or ordinances against this that give police power to arrest people.
NJ Loitering Law
Like any other state, New Jersey has statutes against loitering that aim to control aggressive soliciting, begging, public drunkenness, prostitution, blocking entry to stores, being a public nuisance, or drug dealing.
However, these statutes are sometimes considered controversial since they can be used to single out certain types of people. If these laws are used to target a disfavored group, then it violates their constitutional rights.
Loitering by Minors
Many states have statutes that prohibit the loitering of minors. These ordinances are typically enforced during certain hours of the day, usually from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. These laws also indicate certain areas where the minors may not hang out, such as vacant lots, alleys, or roads. It is important to know that jurisdictions define “loitering by a minor” differently.
The state ordinance is aimed at protecting minors from dangerous high-crime areas. Violation of the statutes may lead to a minimal fine. In some instances, the parent may be charged if they are found liable for allowing their child to loiter.
Limitations of Loitering Law
These laws are often subject to debate, seen by critics as a violation of people’s rights. As a result, state laws often stipulate the manner, place, or time restrictions that make some types of loitering illegal. For example, it is legal to leisurely stroll in the park but not in front of a hospital. The more particular a state ordinance is, the fewer critics it faces.
Common Types of Loitering
Below are the most common instances that police arrest for:
- For the purpose of gambling
- With an intention of soliciting another person for prostitution
- For the purpose of begging
- In a learning institution after being told to leave by any authorized official
- With the intention of unlawfully using a controlled substance
- In any transport facility with the intention to engage in business without permission
Charged with Loitering in NJ
Loitering in New Jersey is considered a misdemeanor crime. However, it has the potential to incite other offenses that may be more severe. Loitering charges can result in either of the following consequences:
- Community service
NJ Attorney For Loitering Charges
Even though loitering is a misdemeanor offense in New Jersey, you still want to hire a lawyer. This is especially true when you feel the police officer unjustly arrested or harassed you. At The Law Office of Benjamin Friedman, we represent clients charged with loitering who feel that they are unfairly targeted or have been unjustly harassed. In such a case, clients can be compensated for the unfair treatment. Consult our experienced attorney today.