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7 Ways Senior Pranks Can Get You Arrested

By Betty Wang, JD | Last updated on

Getting arrested for a senior prank? It's possible.

We all know that senior pranks are often a much-anticipated tradition for restless high school seniors. The pranks range from tame, to hilarious, to just horrific and bizarre, as seen in a recent senior prank in Knoxville, Tennessee.

They can also, however, be illegal, and get you thrown in jail before you graduate. So before you gather your friends to draft the most epic practical joke your high school has ever seen, consider these potential criminal consequences:

  1. Theft. If you use any school supplies in putting together your prank, this could be considered theft. Bring your own supplies. All theft, or larceny, requires is the taking of something that isn't yours, while knowing that it isn't yours, and no intention of returning it.
  2. Vandalism. Be careful if any school property may be damaged in the process. This includes broken windows and graffiti.
  3. Trespass. Many pranks are put together after the school's operating hours. If you break into the school at night or just at a time when you're not supposed to be there, without the permission of the school, this can lead to a trespass charge.
  4. Burglary. Burglary is any breaking and entering of a building, coupled with the intent to commit a felony. While a felony may seem severe and not related to the purpose of your prank, there are many misdemeanors, such as the ones listed in this post, that can escalate into felony charges if they result in costly damages.
  5. Injuries. If your prank results in any innocent students or faculty sustaining bruises, cuts, or any other injuries, you may get in trouble for this. Even pranks like spiking a teacher's drink can lead to charges of assault or battery, defined as a harmful or offensive touching of another person without permission.
  6. Animal cruelty? It may not seem relevant, but those Knoxville high schoolers may be looking at charges of animal cruelty. This is actually more common than one would assume, as animals (or insects) are often used to escalate a prank.
  7. Disorderly conduct. If your prank turns out to interrupt the regular school schedule, passerbys on foot and car, or just the general public, this may lead to a disorderly conduct charge. Disorderly conduct does not mean that your actions were dangerous, but that they were disruptive enough to be deemed unruly or warrant regulation.

For those seniors who want to leave their mark for the year before embarking on the next step in life, let this post be a way of taking a leaf from your parents' book: Have fun, but be careful.

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