Pranks are a time-honored tradition on college campuses, but they can sometimes lead to criminal charges. Sometimes, college pranks can get wildly out of hand and result in felony offense charges against the individuals involved. Regardless of whether there was malicious intent, the accused individuals may end up on trial before a jury unless the charges are reduced to misdemeanors.
According to law enforcement officials in Blacksburg, two Virginia Tech walk-on football players were charged with creating and detonating an explosive device in a local apartment complex on Dec. 3. The two freshmen, both from Ashburn, explained to investigators that they wanted to scare a friend. The pair mixed cleaning solution in a plastic bottle and dropped aluminum foil into it. The chemical reaction resulted in a loud explosion outside the female friend's door. Other residents in the apartment complex heard the explosion and alerted local law enforcement authorities.
The two young men have cooperated fully with investigators and explained exactly what they did. Apparently, there was never any intention for the prank to be taken as seriously as it was. The men were arrested and taken to the Montgomery County Jail in Christiansburg where they were released on bond. A preliminary hearing will take place on Jan. 24 in the Montgomery county General District Court. Both men face charges for class five felonies, which could result in fines of up to $2,500 and up to 10 years in jail.
In order to avoid facing a felony conviction, individuals should learn about their rights during their trials and how to ask for a reduced sentence if applicable. In spite of being more serious crimes, felonies are processed in the same way as other crimes, and sufficient evidence must be provided for a conviction to stand.
Source: Daily Press, "ACC All Access: Virginia Tech's Brian Rody and Josh Trimble charged with felonies in connection with explosion," Norm Wood, Dec. 3, 2012