April Fool’s Day is recognized in many Western countries as a time to play “tricks.” While the custom has been observed for hundreds of years, no one can be quite sure of its origin. Yet as can be seen in almost any community throughout the United States, people don’t have to know why the 1st of April each year is the perfect time to plan a prank to make it a tradition of epic proportions. Most April Fool’s Day jokes are just funny, but every now and then, one takes on a life of its own and results in major consequences. Sometimes the consequences can even be criminal.
Consider a few of these April Fool’s Day Jokes Gone Wrong:
In 2014, Angela Timmons texted her daughter claiming she could hear gunfire. Her daughter contacted 911. The police responded immediately and were on site at Virginia Colleges within minutes only to find that there was no shooting. Timmons was arrested on multiple charges including aggravated breach of peace and disturbing a school.
In 2013, a woman in Tennessee called her sister and told her she murdered her husband and requested her help burying the body. The woman who received the call told another family member who immediately called the police. The woman who played this particular joke was taken into custody.
A recently divorced man, Randy Wood, called his ex-wife and asked her to come to his house because he had something to show her. When she arrived, he was hanging from a tree in his front yard. She immediately called the police. Emergency services (i.e. firefighters, police, paramedics, etc.) responded to the scene where they found that Randy was not only alive, but also not hurt at all. He had staged the scene to scare his ex-wife as a prank using a lineman’s harness. He faced a fine of up to $1,000 and a year in jail for the prank.
If you’re thinking about doing something as a prank or a joke, whether it is in recognition of April Fool’s Day or not, be conscientious of whether or not it could be considered a crime if it was actually taken seriously. Remember that sometimes a prank or joke that you play on a friend or family member can be observed by another individual, taken out of context, or result in unforeseen damage to individuals or property. When this occurs, the pranksters could find themselves facing charges. Even the most seemingly innocuous pranks can have negative repercussions. For instance, the smallest fireworks or even Silly String could cause property damage that results in charges being filed.
If you have questions or concerns about this type of situation or if you are facing criminal charges based on a misunderstanding, please get in touch with a member of our team at Ghanouni Teen & Young Adult Defense Firm as soon as possible.