When does a prank become a crime?

Unlawful Mischief often begins as a prank. 

Many Vermont teens and young adult clients have told me that what became unlawful mischief started out a prank.  The Vermont unlawful mischief statute can be found here.

Unlawful Mischief occurs when “a person who, with intent to damage property, and having no right to do so or any reasonable ground to believe that he or she has such a right, does any damage to any property.” The Vermont unlawful mischief law outlines the potential penalties for damaging another’s property. The greater the value of the property, the greater the potential penalties.

Unlawful Mischief can range from simple damage to a fence or mailbox all the way up to significant damage of a car or dwelling. 

With Halloween approaching, many of us remember playing tricks on neighbors or running wild with silly string and spray paint. It’s important to remind teens and young adults that damage to property can result in criminal consequences.


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