Whether you are young or old Halloween is a holiday most can agree brings a lot of happiness and cheer. With all the excitement about dressing up your children, grandchildren, or even your pets, there are a few things you need to keep in mind, especially if you have any pre-teens or teens that are a little mischievous. In today's blog, your Pennsylvania Criminal Law Attorneys provide some guidance for keeping the more "trick-minded" members of your family out of trouble this Halloween.
We all know that Halloween is meant to be fun and that the pranks that are played are mostly harmless in nature. Something you may not realize and should inform your older children about is that some of the more traditional Halloween pranks, which are generally rather innocent, may actually be violations of criminal law. There are situations in which Halloween these pranks may get you into some pretty serious legal trouble because of neighbors that may not be so amused about an attempt to spook them. In order to avoid any sort of issues and enjoy a fun Halloween night, there are some things you should consider.
One of the most common Halloween pranks is "teepeeing." For those that don't recognize that name, it's the covering of an object, be it a house or a tree, with toilet paper. Sounds pretty innocent, right? Well, this act of crossing into a neighbor's backyard and covering the tree with toilet paper, for example, could, if reported, be grounds for a charge of trespass. So it's safer to avoid it altogether.
Another not uncommon occurrence on Halloween night is the smashing of pumpkins. Though again, this doesn't hurt anyone and is meant as a joke, some neighbors may not see the humor in this, especially if they spent a long time working on carving their pumpkins. Charges for this under Pennsylvania criminal law could include theft, because you took the pumpkin "with the intent to permanently deprive" the owner of it, and even burglary if you entered a portion of the neighbor's home, such as an enclosed front porch, to take possession of the pumpkin. Something, again, that is not worth getting in trouble over.
With this new information in mind, let's all work together to make sure that this Halloween is fun and safe for all and that the legal system doesn't make an unwelcome appearance. If, however, you or someone in your family happen to find themselves in a little bit of a spooky situation, contact our Pittsburgh Criminal Defense Lawyers at Lisa Marie Vari & Associates. Our team will work with you to ensure that your legal rights are protected.