Welcome back and thanks for joining us here at The Kronzek Firm for this discussion on teen pranks, and how they can actually result in criminal charges. In our previous article we talked about how online access has changed the way teens prank nowadays, and how public perception of teen pranks has changed as well. (Paintballing a house was considered annoying years ago, but now it’s viewed as vandalism or malicious destruction of property, which is a crime here in Michigan!)
It may seem silly to some parents, but the shenanigans their kids get up to can land them behind bars, and in some cases, with a criminal record that can haunt them for the rest of their lives! However, when you consider what is considered a “prank” in today’s world, maybe it’s not so preposterous after all!
Some teen pranks have become riskier, and more dangerous!
Toilet papering someone’s house or egging their windows might make for a lot of hard work for the homeowner, but it never put anyone in danger. However those are no longer the only kind of pranks being pulled these days by kids in Michigan. The internet has made every ill-advised idea available to everyone, and with everyone wanting their 15 minutes of fame on YouTube, many kids simply can’t resist. But the reality can be terrifying!
An example of how out of control teen pranking can get, you only have to look at the case currently making its way through the Genesee County Court right now, involving several teenage boys who threw rocks at passing cars from a highway overpass. You’ll probably agree it wasn’t a smart move – a windshield could have shattered, or a driver could have been startled, jerking the wheel and losing control of their vehicle at high speed. In reality, however, the results were much worse!
5 Michigan teens are being charged with murder for their “prank”
Five teen boys, aged 15 through 17, are accused of dropping large rocks and a tire from an overpass near Flint, which resulted in considerable damage to several vehicles, and the death of one young father. 32-year-old Kenneth White was a passenger in a van that was travelling on the I-75 near Flint, when a twenty pound rock crashed through the windshield, striking him in the face and chest, before bouncing onto his chest and crushing it.
The van’s driver told police he had to pass four other cars, all pulled to the side of the highway and damaged, before could help his friend. Sadly, White was declared dead shortly after being hit by the flying rock. The five teens have all been charged with Second Degree Murder, and a number of other charges, including conspiracy to commit murder, and multiple counts of felony Malicious Destruction of Property. They are all being charged as adults in the Genessee County courts.
Teens often fail to think through the consequences of their actions
Teens are not stupid. However, it’s a widely recognized fact that their brains have not finished developing yet, and they’re subject to raging hormones and enormous social pressures. None of this is an excuse for what happened, of course, but the reality is that these kids are exactly that – just kids. And they are facing life in prison. Obviously, very sad.
White’s fiance believes they should be put away for life because they should have known better. Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton and Genesee County Sheriff Robert Pickell agree, although both say it caused them heartache to charge these children for this crime. “It’s not a prank, it’s second-degree murder,” Pickell said in a statement to the press. “I don’t think anybody is laughing and I think that if there’s any warning that both David and I can give, is telling young people, you make a bad decision, you could be spending the rest of your life in prison!”
Teens facing criminal charges need very specific help!
Juveniles who are facing criminal charges are a different kettle of fish from the average adult dealing with the criminal justice system. Minors need to be handled differently, and when they’re being charged as juveniles, the court system doesn’t handle their cases in the same way. That’s why teens need a skilled criminal defense attorney who understands what they’re up against, what alternatives are available to them, and how best to protect their rights, and their futures.
If you or a loved one have a teenage son or daughter whose being charged with a crime for being involved in a prank that got out of hand, call The Kronzek Firm at 866 766 5245. Our experienced criminal defense attorneys have handled many juvenile cases over the years, and we understand the legal complexities and emotional challenges involved. Also, we’re parents, so we understand how challenging this is for you. But you’re not alone in this. We’re here to help! You can reach us 24/7 at 1 866-7NoJail.