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Pulling pranks, causing mischief, testing boundaries. Whatever you call it when a teen acts out or gets into trouble, it can cause headaches for parents.

However, it could also create a criminal record for your child. Worse, a teen could wind up tried as an adult in Pennsylvania. As such, parents would be wise to talk to young teens about what can happen when their actions cross the line between a prank and a crime.

Prank or crime?

Consider the following scenarios and how it does not take much for them to lead to illegal activity with penalties, including jail time, prison and other consequences.

  • Property crimes: Kids might vandalize property, start fires, steal something from the store, or damage a neighbor’s home or garage. Depending on the cost of the damage, a young person could face misdemeanor or felony criminal charges.
  • Assault: Teens can get involved in hazing, bullying and sexual exchanges that they may not understand or realize to be as harmful as they can be. If someone gets hurt or worse, any participating party contributing to the event could be charged with a serious crime.
  • Drinking and drugs: Experimenting is a part of adolescence for many people. However, it is illegal for a minor to use drugs or alcohol. Any young person caught under the influence or in possession of paraphernalia related to prohibited substances can end up arrested.
  • Computer crimes: Although this generation grew up with technology and social media, they still can use it improperly and irresponsibly. And things like harassing someone online, posting private information and hacking into someone else’s account can be grounds for criminal charges.

These are all situations any teen could find themselves in. And thanks to things like impulsivity, peer pressure and poor judgment, a young person could do something that ultimately threatens their freedom and future if they cross the line.

If your child is accused of something they or you believe was a harmless prank, you could be in for an unpleasant surprise. For help navigating this difficult situation, Pennsylvania parents can call the Quinn Law Firm at 814-833-2222.