Maintaining a Nuisance, N.J.S.A. 2c:33-12
Under New Jersey law, a person is guilty of maintaining a nuisance when:
- By conduct either unlawful in itself or unreasonable under all the circumstances, he knowingly or recklessly creates or maintains a condition which endangers the safety or health of a considerable number of persons;
- He knowingly conducts or maintains any premises, place or resort where persons gather for purposes of engaging in unlawful conduct; or
- He knowingly conducts or maintains any premises, place or resort as a house of prostitution or as a place where obscene material, as defined in N.J.S. 2c:34-2 and N.J.S. 2c:34-3, is sold, photographed, manufactured, exhibited or otherwise prepared or shown, in violation of N.J.S. 2c:34-2, N.J.S. 2c:34-3, and N.J.S. 2c:34-4. A person is guilty of a disorderly persons offense if the person is convicted under subsection a. or b. of this section. A person is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree if the person is convicted under subsection c. of this section. Upon conviction under this section, in addition to the sentence authorized by this code, the court may proceed as set forth in section 2C:33-12.1.
First, subsection a prohibits conduct that endangers the health or safety of much more than one other person. Indeed, this derives from and continues common-law nuisance.
Second, subsection b prohibits unlawful conduct. As such, it continues the old “disorderly house” law. Interestingly, some New Jersey towns have a “disorderly house” ordinance. Nevertheless, one instance of illegal activity would not be enough to establish a nuisance.
Finally, subsection c relates to grading of this offense. After all, subsection b includes prostitution and obscenity nuisances.
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