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The clown sightings: Sick joke or serious offense?

The 2016 clown panic started in mid-August when residents of Greenville, South Carolina, called police reporting that there were clowns lurking around in the woods outside of town. Since then, more than 100 clown sightings have been reported.

Creepy clowns have now been reported in almost every state, including Texas, and new reports of clown sightings are coming in almost daily. But what is so scary about the clowns? And is it true that dressing up like a clown can get you thrown in jail?

Are the clowns hurting people?

Earlier this month, Texas State University police reported that a suspect dressed as a clown grabbed a female student who was leaving a dorm building. She got away and was not hurt.

At this point, no one has been seriously injured by a clown, but many schools throughout the country have sent warning letters to parents about the sightings as a precaution.

As it turns out, many of the clowns that have been reported were merely pranksters dressed up to pull off a hoax, while other clown reports were determined to be false. However, there have been numerous arrests and some downright scary behavior.

Can I be arrested for dressing up like a clown?

You cannot be arrested for simply wearing a clown costume. However, you could be arrested for committing other illegal acts while wearing a clown costume, such as threatening people or trespassing. Additionally, teens in the Northeast have been arrested for making clown-related threats online.

In Texas, a seventh grade student is facing disciplinary action after allegedly inviting a unknown person online with a creepy clown profile picture to come to his school.

Many local police departments are recommending that people avoid wearing clown costumes just to add to the current hysteria, but with Halloween just around the corner, the chances of additional clown sightings are likely.

What to do if your son or daughter gets into trouble

Any time a juvenile gets into trouble with the law or faces disciplinary action at school, it's important to work with a criminal defense lawyer who can make sure that his or her rights and future are protected.

Even juvenile charges related to pranks or other seemingly harmless behavior can result in harsh consequences for young people, especially under Texas law.

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