By Carlos Gamino

The end of the school year is right around the corner, and that means many high school seniors are currently planning the pranks they’ll pull before they leave public school for good. Unfortunately, though, many senior pranks end up being actual crimes – even something as seemingly silly and lighthearted as pulling the fire alarm can lead to criminal charges. Here’s what you need to know about senior pranks leading to criminal charges, as well as how you can help your child (or yourself) in the event that this happens.

Can Senior Pranks Lead to Criminal Charges?

Some senior pranks are actually crimes, ranging from property destruction to disorderly conduct. Depending on the seriousness of the offense, a person who pulls a senior prank could end up paying fines or even spending time in jail.

Related: Disorderly conduct in Wisconsin

But Aren’t Most Senior Pranks Harmless?

The most common senior pranks are generally harmless, such as hiding notes in library books, skipping class to gather on the football field, hiring a mariachi band to follow the principal around for a day or wrapping a teacher’s desk in plastic wrap – but some, such as those that involve actual destruction of property or require emergency services to show up at the school, are criminal offenses in the state of Wisconsin.

Related: Can you beat a disorderly conduct charge?

Penalties for Some Senior Pranks

Minors who are 17 or older are typically charged as adults – and that means they face adult penalties that can stick with them for the rest of their lives. The penalties can vary, as well. For example, pulling the fire alarm when there’s no fire can result in a conviction for a Class A misdemeanor. A Class A misdemeanor is punishable by up to nine months in jail and a fine of up to $10,000. Criminal damage to property can be a felony, and it’s punishable by prison time (that’s prison, not jail) and hefty fines.

Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney About Senior Pranks and Criminal Charges?

If your child has been accused of a crime based on a senior prank, we may be able to help. Call our office right away at 414-383-6700 or schedule a free consultation with a criminal defense attorney online. Our team can give you the legal advice you need to help protect your child’s future and get the best possible outcome in their case.

Attorney Carlos Gamino