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Youthful Pranks Can Result in Serious – and Long Term – Consequences

TPing or egging a classmate’s house. Hazing the incoming freshmen. Pulling a fire alarm at school. Stealing a small item from the drug store on a dare. These are all common youthful pranks, and some readers may even remember in engaging in similar conduct themselves in years past. It’s important to understand, however, that many pranks that we cast aside as “kids just being kids” can actually result in criminal liability. In addition, in some cases, a conviction for a prank-related crime can affect a person’s life for years to come, and long after any sentence imposed by the court has come to an end.

The Collateral Consequences of a Criminal Conviction

While it is true that most juvenile records are sealed when a person turns 18, this is not always the case. In addition, if you were 18 or older at the time of your conviction, your “youthful indiscretion” will almost certainly result in a criminal record.

Collateral consequences are consequences that you can experience because of your criminal record that are not imposed by the court. Importantly, in many cases, they are significantly more serious than the direct consequences of a conviction for a low-level misdemeanor, which often involves a fine or period of unsupervised probation. For this reason, it’s critical that you discuss your professional and educational aspirations with your attorney early on in your case, as they can have a significant impact on what outcome is best for you.

Here are some of the collateral consequences of which young people should be aware:

Educational Consequences

Many high schools, colleges, and universities have student codes of conduct that prohibit students from violating the law. As a result, a conviction could result in sanctions being imposed by your school, including probation, suspensions, the loss of a scholarship or financial aid package, or even expulsion. In addition, many schools now use applicants’ criminal records in making admission decisions, so it’s possible that a conviction could hurt your chances of getting into the school of your choice.

Issues Getting a Professional License

If you are considering going into a field that requires a professional license such as medicine, law, accounting, or dentistry, it’s critical to understand that any criminal record may raise issues when it comes time to apply for your license. Furthermore, if you are just starting your college career, don’t make the mistake of thinking that you know exactly what you want to do professionally later on – you might, but you should always keep your options open. As a result, it’s a good idea to do everything you can to mitigate the long-term consequences of a youthful criminal conviction, regardless of your current plans for the future.

Call a St. Louis Criminal Defense Lawyer Today to Protect Your Future

If you or your child has been accused of a crime after a prank or other youthful indiscretion, you should contact an attorney as soon as you can. The experienced St. Louis criminal defense attorneys at Bruntrager & Billings know how important it is to protect the future of young people and understand how to resolve these kinds of cases as favorably as possible. To schedule a free case evaluation with a lawyer, call our office today at (314) 646-0066 or contact us online.

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