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Did your teenager vandalize a mailbox?

Teenagers are by nature irrepressible, often engaging in hijinks out of boredom. But sometimes their behavior crosses the line into criminal territory.

Mailbox vandalism is one of those examples where horseplay among teens or young adults has gone a step too far. This criminal act is actually a federal offense, and the vandals can face very serious consequences as a result.

Under federal laws, mailboxes are protected. Vandalism to them or the mail inside is punishable by as long as three years in prison for each incident. Fines can be as high as $250,000.

Below are some of the ways mailboxes can be vandalized.

-- Blowing it up with a firecracker

-- Putting a homemade pipe bomb inside

-- Smashing it with a bat or brick

While there tends to be more instances of mailbox vandalism in the summer when bored teens are hanging out with nothing to do, vandals can strike year-round.

People place enormous trust in the services provided by the United States Postal Service. Millions of irreplaceable photos, documents, financial instruments and letters crisscross the country and encircle the globe every day via the USPS. When that trust is eroded due to vandalism of mailboxes, it effects everyone.

If your teen is arrested for or accused of mailbox vandalism, his or her future is on the line. Regardless of the circumstances, every defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Retaining a criminal defense attorney to represent teens on charges of vandalizing mailboxes may improve their chances of being acquitted or having the charges dropped or at least reduced.

Source: United States Postal Service, "Mailbox Vandalism Isn't a Joke," accessed Feb. 17, 2017

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Kohlmetz, Steen & Hanrahan, P.C.

741 Southwest Lincoln Street
Portland, OR 97201
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