When social media “pranks” go wrong, violence and charges can follow

On Behalf of | Feb 12, 2021 | Criminal Law |

A good joke should be fun for everyone involved. Unfortunately, an entire industry has grown up around pranks that have more shock value than humor. If you play a prank, you need to carefully consider how your actions could be perceived by others — including your target or witnesses. If not, you could end up facing charges for your actions.

Even worse, someone could end up hurt or killed. That’s what happened in a case in Tennessee. A 20-year-old man was reportedly filming a prank robbery video for his YouTube channel while wielding a butcher’s knife when he and another friend approached a few people who were in the parking lot of Urban Air Trampoline and Adventure Park. 

The group that was being approached included a 23-year-old man who promptly pulled out a gun and shot the would-be prankster. He claims it was self-defense, but the police are still investigating to determine if he did or didn’t know that this was a stunt and prank. 

How pranks can turn into crimes

This isn’t the first time that a prank video has gone wrong. In another case that happened in California, two twin brothers made a series of videos where they pretended to have just robbed a bank. Bystanders and objects of the pranks called the police, and the brothers now face a slew of criminal charges.

Eventually, the brothers were charged with felony false imprisonment effected through violence, menace, fraud or deceit and misdemeanor charges related to the abuse of emergency services. If convicted on all counts, the brothers could each face up to four years in prison for their “prank.”

If you do make a mistake in your pursuit of social media popularity and views, an experienced criminal defense attorney can protect your rights — but it’s far wiser to avoid putting yourself in a situation where you could end up arrested (or worse).

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