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Can You Get Arrested Over a Prank?

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Pranks and jokes are a common part of growing up. Unfortunately, not all pranks are harmless, and some carry hefty consequences. Even high school students, who are minors, can face criminal charges associated with pranks.
In order to convict you of a crime related to a prank, the prosecution must demonstrate you are criminally liable for any harm that becomes of your actions. Intent will become a key issue in your case. Your criminal defense attorney will try to prove you had no intent to commit a crime or cause harm.
If you are interested in pranks but think you might face criminal charges if you follow through, you should read this guide first. The consequences of a simple prank can be long-lasting and serious.

Vandalism & Criminal Mischief

A common prank among children involves vandalism. For instance, a child might decide to pour glue on another child's clothing. Another classic example is throwing toilet paper on somebody's house, which is often perceived as a Halloween prank.
In Texas, this prank could be considered criminal mischief, which comes with a sentence often based on the severity of the damage inflicted. Most often, this type of prank is considered a misdemeanor. While most people end up with tickets, you could face jail time and hefty fines if the damage you caused was valued highly.

Spiking Food & Drink

Spiking or poisoning food or drink may involve the addition of any substance, from alcohol to a chemical substance. An item used to spike a drink could even prompt an allergic reaction, so this prank is best left untouched.
While some people may consider spiking a drink with alcohol or drugs a prank, others consider it a crime. In fact, this method is often used as a means of sexually assaulting people, so the police will take this offense seriously.


Pranks have resulted in homicide in the past. For instance, one woman was arrested after making a "prank" video with her boyfriend in which she shot him with a gun through a book. Unfortunately, he died, and she was charged with second-degree manslaughter as well as a potential prison sentence and a hefty fine.
Another example in which homicide has resulted from a prank is in the case of "Swatting." Swatting refers to reporting a fake crime in another person's house. The police, or sometimes a SWAT team, show up. In one case, a man was killed by an officer who believed that the man was committing a crime.
Engaging in this type of prank could cause you to face manslaughter or even more severe homicide charges.


Prank calls are commonplace, especially among children. Unfortunately, they can also become a crime. In some cases, these calls can be construed as stalking. You could face charges for this crime in addition to a potential restraining order.
Continuously calling a person on the phone or making lewd or obscene comments on the phone may constitute harassment. If the comments are associated with an individual’s religion, race, or country of origin, you could even face a hate crime charge.
Harassment also occurs via the Internet. Harassing an individual online can have real-life consequences in Texas.

Defending Against Criminal Charges

Are you charged with a crime after participating in a prank? Even an act you participated in with the intention of causing no harm could lead to a criminal conviction.
If you need a criminal defense attorney Joe D. Gonzales & Associates can help you fight for your rights. The law takes charges associated with pranks seriously. Call us today to set up a consultation with a knowledgeable and skilled attorney who understands your needs.