Teenagers in Michigan who like to prank others might not know where to draw the line. Certain pranks are severe enough to be classified as crimes that could put them behind bars. An example is a teenager in another state who thought it was fun to make prank calls and landed up being charged with 40 felonies and multiple misdemeanors.
The 17-year-old faces multiple counts of swatting, which is a form of harassment that involves making deceiving calls to emergency services. The aim is to get them to send swat teams and emergency responders to nonexistent emergencies. These can include reports of murder, bomb threats, hostage situations and other faked incidents. The teenager's pranks and swatting allegedly ranged from making harassing calls to his neighbor to reporting emergencies that had SWAT teams deployed to fake emergencies.
Authorities warn that if something should go wrong and an innocent person is harmed during such an incident, the person who made the false report could be held responsible. He or she could be criminally charged for the actions of police officers. One such swatting call in 2017 led to a fatal shooting and the person who made the call received a 20-year jail sentence.
According to court documents, this teenager now faces more than 70 criminal charges, 40 of which are felonies. Technology allows law enforcement to identify those who make swatting calls easily. Anyone in Michigan who is in a similar situation might not have realized that he or she crossed the line from pranking to swatting. This is where the skills of an experienced criminal defense attorney come in. Legal counsel can protect the client's rights and develop a strong defense strategy in pursuit of the best possible outcome.