Harmless Halloween Pranks Can Result In Serious Criminal Penalties
Dressing up in costume and getting bagfuls of candy and other treats is only part of the fun on Halloween. The other part focuses on ‘tricks’, which often take the form of pranks played on friends, neighbors, or others in your community. While these may seem relatively harmless, they can end up causing costly property damages and result in criminal charges. As experienced Daytona Beach criminal defense attorneys, we want you to be aware of the severe penalties you could be facing.
Halloween One of the Most Common Times of Year For Property Damage Claims
The period between October 30th and November 1st provides pranksters young and old the opportunity to roam through neighborhoods and business districts, playing jokes on property owners. While covering trees in toilet paper and soaping car windows may seem like harmless fun, these types of activities can easily get out of hand.
According to an October 21, 2020 Business Insider report, property damage claims among home and business owners typically spike at this time of year. Travelers states that they experience more than a 25 percent increase in property damage claims and close to a 40 percent increase regarding damage claims to vehicles. Among the most common complaints include:
- Scratched and broken windows;
- Dented doors and siding;
- Destruction of other structures on the property;
- Spray painted graffiti;
- Stolen bikes;
- Theft of packages and porch decor;
- Deflated tires and other vehicle damages.
Penalties For Halloween-Related Pranks In Daytona
All of the above and other types of Halloween ‘pranks’ can result in the filing of criminal charges in Daytona Beach. Under the Florida Statutes, you could find yourself facing serious penalties for criminal mischief, which is defined as willfully and maliciously causing injuries or damages to another or their property. Where the act is committed and the degree of damage done will determine the type of penalties you could face if convicted of this crime:
- For damage to property totalling $200 or less: This is classified as a second degree misdemeanor crime. Penalties include fines up to $500 and up to a 60 day jail sentence.
- For damage to property that is greater than $200 but less than $1,000: This is classified as a first degree misdemeanor, resulting in fines of up to $1,000 and up to a one year jail sentence.
- For damages that total $1,000 or more: You could be facing third degree felony charges. These charges also apply if the act you engaged in causes interruption of a business or public service, if it targets a church, synagogue, or other religious establishment, or interferes with telephone wires and other utilities. Penalties include fines of up to $5,000 and up to a five year jail sentence.
Reach Out to Us Today for Help
Seemingly harmless Halloween pranks can result in serious criminal penalties. To protect yourself, reach out to Bundza & Rodriguez, P.A. today. Call or contact our Daytona Beach criminal defense attorneys online to request a consultation.