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From Prank to The Clank: College Mischief That Ends in Jail Time

Columbus criminal attorney

Contact a Columbus criminal attorney if you get into trouble

How many times has a friend told you an insane story about drinking, vandalism or burglary, with the explanation of the events being a shrug of the shoulders and the words, “It was back in college,” as if attending an institution for higher education is a completely logical reason for acting crazy.

It’s true though: college can be a bizarre environment. The combination of all of the new freedoms and independence afforded to young students, along with moderately easy access to drugs and alcohol, can create a volatile concoction of strange circumstances and poor decisions.

The problem is, being a college student doesn’t make one impervious to state and local law enforcement.

College pranks can quickly have you calling a criminal attorney

Sometimes a student will think that a good natured prank or hoax will merely result in some laughs or some campus-wide infamy. However, if he or she is apprehended mid-prank, it may be difficult to convince law enforcement that it was intended to be in good fun.

Common forms of college mischief that can potentially result in criminal charges include:

  • Burglary: While there are people who will legitimately steal things for themselves, sometimes students will take things as a prank with no intention of keeping or destroying them. For instance, students have been known to steal rival schools’ mascots or campus fixtures with the intention of merely relocating them, or returning them after a big sports event. However, if caught in the act, a student may be charged with theft.
  • Underage drinking: We’re all familiar with this one. While not really a prank, drinking before the age of 21 is probably the most common form of college mischief students can get into. However, if a party gets too loud and the police are called, a student may be apprehended and charged with underage consumption.
  • Streaking: Sprinting naked through a public place may seem like a silly, harmless antic, but the reality is that public indecency is a crime.
  • Vandalism: Spray painting the name of a football team or college fraternity letters on a piece of private property may seem like a minor offense, but depending on the value of what was defaced, a vandalism charge can be a felony and can carry some pretty hefty fines and even prison.
  • Criminal mischief: This can apply to almost any type of prank, trick or hoax that breaks the law in some way or another, including damaging property, misuse of safety or construction equipment, and computer hacking.

Columbus criminal attorney

Call a Columbus criminal attorney for help

While many crimes that occur on college campuses are dealt with by campus security and the college administration, it’s not uncommon for student pranksters to end up apprehended by local police and charged with misdemeanors or felonies, which can become part of their permanent record.

If you or your child have been charged with a crime for committing a college prank, call the expert attorneys at Yavitch & Palmer. We’ll listen to your side of the story and work to get your charges reduced or even completely dismissed.

Contact Yavitch & Palmer today at 614-224-6142 or use our contact form to schedule an appointment at our downtown Columbus office.

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