People make some bad decisions when they are in college, from getting drunk and doing something dangerous to assuming they don’t have to study for an important final. These unwise decisions typically have a direct impact on the person making them. However, they can also affect others in some truly unfortunate ways.

For instance, three University of Tennessee students are accused of making some seriously bad decisions that resulted in felony vandalism charges for them and major damages for their school and many of their fellow students.

From punching to underwater

According to reports, the three young students apparently admitted to punching ceiling tiles in their dormitory late one evening. By punching the tiles, the students allegedly caused a piece of metal to puncture a pipe, bursting it. For about 20 minutes, 100 gallons of water per minute ran from the pipe.

The damage in the dormitory was extensive, with estimates reaching about $2 million in damages. Students also had to be evacuated, while many of their rooms and belongs were damaged by the flooding water. Further, this all occurred while students were preparing for finals.

What happens now?

While the school cleans up the damage and students try to return to their rooms and studying, the students claiming involvement will have their own messy situation to address. 

In cases of vandalism, criminal charges may only one part of the potential consequences a young person faces; he or she can also face serious civil charges. But because the possible penalties for a criminal conviction include imprisonment, fines and a stain on a criminal record, it will be important to speak with a criminal defense attorney right away.

Vandalism may seem like a harmless prank, but the fact is that these acts can result in serious charges and expensive damage. Even if the result is unintentional, the person or persons responsible for the vandalism can face harsh consequences. Therefore, working with a legal representative to respond to legal claims will be critical.