The next time you think about sleeping in your car, you better double-check exactly where in New Jersey you are because you could be fined $2,000 or even go to jail for 90 days.

Guy Sleeping in Car Photo from canva
Guy Sleeping in Car Photo from canva
loading...

Yes, I know that it is not illegal to sleep in your car in the state of New Jersey, but one area of South Jersey has become the exception. The "Good Order and Peace" Ordinance passed by Dennis Township now prohibits a list of activities to occur on any Quasi-Public Property. According to the new law, the definition is:

“Private or publicly owned property utilized for proprietary or business uses which invites patronage by the public or which invites public ingress and egress.”

Dennis Township Sign on Corson Tavern Road from Google Maps
Dennis Township Sign on Corson Tavern Road from Google Maps
loading...

This new ordinance bans sleeping in cars, sleeping in public areas, and changing clothes in a car in any "Quasi-Public Places" day or night along with prohibiting loitering at night on any township property at night. The "Good Order and Peace" Ordinance also has banned any form of activity that would be considered “revel, quarrel, brawl, disport” in any Public or Quasi-Public Places along with dress or undressing and it is illegal to defecate, urinate, or committing any nuisance in these areas of the township.

Older Guy Sleeping on Bench Photo from Canva
Older Guy Sleeping on Bench Photo from Canva
loading...

Along with no sleeping or changing of clothes in Public Places, the new ordinance also bans trespassing on private property or entering any lodging areas without permission for any personal reasons. Also, anyone under 18 years old found loitering on Public or Quasi-Public will be presumed to be doing so without the permission of their parent or guardian so they will be handled accordingly.

No Loitering Photo from Canva
No Loitering Photo from Canva
loading...

Now so much of this seems like Common Sense to the average, law-abiding citizen and I was under the impression that some of these restrictions were already laws everywhere in New Jersey.  But the difference is now there are new punishments for the violations of these activities that would be considered Public Disorderly Conduct in most municipalities.

Justice Gavel Photo from Canva Images
Justice Gavel Photo from Canva Images
loading...

After the passage of this new ordinance, those convicted of any of the Public Nuisance violations under the "Good Order and Peace" Ordinance, everyone is subject to a $2,000 fine or 90 days in Jail or up to 90 Days of Community service OR a combination of all three types of punishment.

Dennis Township sign Photo from Google Maps
Dennis Township sign on Route 550 Photo from Google Maps
loading...

Even though Dennis Township is not as large in terms of acres as its neighbors to the North (Upper Township) and to the South (Middle Township), many people are probably unfamiliar with where the Municipal Boundaries are located. For example, Route 9 drivers who travel south will cross from Upper to Dennis to Middle Townships without any overtly clear delineation aside from some signs that you could easily miss while driving. Also, Route 47 travelers will pass through Middle and Dennis Townships too.

Dennis Township Sign on Route 47 Photo from Google Maps
Dennis Township Sign on Route 47 Photo from Google Maps
loading...

Plus, Dennis Township also reaches west of the city of Woodbine and no rational person would blame you for not knowing where the Municipal Boundaries are at since County Roads like Route 550 seamlessly cross those municipal lines.

Confused Driver Photo from Canva
Confused Driver Photo from Canva
loading...

So the next time you feel the need to take a nap instead of keep driving to your destination, double-check where you are in Cape May County because you could be fined $2,000 or worse!

10 Favorite Things about Cape May County, NJ

The history of Cape May County predates the formation of the United States of America by about 100 years as it was one of the first counties established in what was originally known as the West New Jersey Provence. Cape May County's historical records go back as far as 1685 and the County was originally established in 1692. Cape May County has been a huge part of my life and that of my family's for decades, so I wanted to share with you my favorite aspects of the southern most County in the state of New Jersey.

Gallery Credit: Josh Hennig/Townsquare Media

More From 97.3 ESPN