clown pranksA recent spate of clown pranks, or perhaps worse, have many throughout the state of New Jersey feeling on-edge. According to media reports, there have been sightings of “creepy clowns” throughout the United States, but very few of these stories have actually been confirmed.

According to a report published at, the craze began in late August, when a group of children in rural South Carolina told their parents that they saw a clown that tried to lure them into the woods. Similar stories soon began cropping up around the Country, including in Cape May County and Pohatcong Township in New Jersey. Some observers are questioning the veracity of the reports, however, especially those posted on social media. The report quotes Vineland Police Chief Timothy Codispoti as saying “It’s a social media thing, there are no clowns here.”

What are the Criminal Implications of Creepy Clown Sightings?

While there is nothing illegal about dressing as a clown, if these reports are true, there are some potential criminal issues that may arise during a “creepy clown” sighting. Some of these include the following:

  • Assault – A clown/not clown interaction could potentially result in allegations of assault if either party threatened or actually attacked the other. Importantly, it is unlikely that a person who attacked a clown because they felt threatened would be able to claim self-defense unless the clown engaged in threatening behavior.
  • Making a Terroristic Threat New Jersey law criminalizes the act of threatening to commit a crime of violence with the purpose of terrorizing another person or to cause the evacuation of a building, place of assembly, or facility of public transportation, or otherwise causing serious public inconvenience, or in reckless disregard of the risk of causing such terror or inconvenience. It is possible that people who dress as clowns and engage in conduct such as luring or stalking could face prosecution for making a terroristic threat.
  • Making a False Report – Individuals who falsely report a clown sighting to police to cause alarm or simply as a prank may be facing allegations of making a false report.

Call 973-686-9787 today for more information.

If you have been accused of a crime related to the creepy clown phenomenon, you should contact an attorney right away. To schedule a free consultation New Jersey criminal defense lawyer David W. Polsky, call our office today at 973-686-9787 or contact us online.