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Is It Illegal to Egg a House?

is it illegal to egg a house

Eggs are one of the most used ingredients in cooking. But others have another use for eggs. And one particular act that typically teenagers and protesters like doing is to egg a house.

Egging is the act of someone or group throwing eggs at people or property. The eggs are raw, but there are instances when people use hard-boiled or spoiled eggs. And as you may have guessed, this act is illegal. 

So if you egg a house, you’d most likely be charged with vandalism. So parents need to tell their children to avoid this action because it can get them into trouble.

What Is Vandalism?

Vandalism occurs when someone or people destroy or damage someone’s property in a way that defaces, mars, or puts something that physically blemishes said property, lowering its value. For example, if you spray paint someone’s fence or when you put a bumper sticker on another person’s car, this would count as vandalism. Other examples are:

  • Carving public benches or public park trees with your initials
  • Writing something on a store window
  • Puncturing tires or keying a car
  • Breaking windows of buildings, and
  • Egg a house

Even though vandalism involves damaging someone’s property, most of the time, it’s not similar to “destruction of property” or “damage to property” property crimes. These are very serious crimes covering physical damages. But some places do put vandalism under the umbrella of these crimes. So, it could be vandalism in one area and destruction of property in another.

Elements of Vandalism

Like every other crime, vandalism has different elements that define it. So for someone to be convicted, the prosecutor has to prove the elements below to the court:

  • Physical Damage – Vandalism includes graffiti, carving, etching, “tagging, egging, and other types of damage that may be permanent. But not serious enough that you can’t use your property anymore or make its function less. 
  • Owned By Someone Else – The damaged property needs to belong to someone else. And if you damage it, it must be against the owner’s wishes. So you can’t commit vandalism if you did the act on your property. Or if you received permission from the owner.
  • Intentionally – there is no accidental vandalism. For example, accidentally spilling paint on your neighbor’s fence because you were painting your house won’t count as vandalism. But, you are legally obligated to pay for the repairs. To get a conviction, you must commit the act with intent.

The first two elements are easy to prove in court. The last one will need a witness. So prosecutors need the right person to link you with the act. If they can’t, it would be hard to prove that you were the one who did the vandalism or did the crime with intention.

Penalties if you egg a house

Typically, vandalism like egging would not constitute a serious crime. Unless, of course, the property you destroyed is very expensive. In the US, most vandalism crimes would only be misdemeanors, meaning the maximum penalty would be fines and imprisonment of up to 1 year in the local jail. Most crimes of egging would fall under this law. But if you cause serious damage to a property, like when you use hard-boiled eggs, you can easily get a felony charge. Those charged with felonies could end up in state prison for more than a year, including fines.

Other countries have more or less a similar punishment. For example, if your alleged vandalism in Canada costs less than $5000, the maximum prison sentence would be two years, along with probation and fines. But if the damage exceeds $5000, you could end up with a ten-year jail sentence. 

Damage exceeding £5000 can also land you ten years in jail in the UK. But if the damage is less than £5000, three months of imprisonment or a fine of £2500 would be the worst-case scenario.

Most places would consider egging a house a petty crime, provided there was no significant damage to the property. Authorities would just let you clean the mess you made in some places. But others could have different laws against it. So here are the typical punishments for egging a house:

  • Jail – Egging can land you in jail, ranging from three days to several years, depending on the amount of damage done. If you have a previous conviction for vandalism or have a criminal record, you may get an increased sentence. 
  • Fines – Fines can vary from place to place. It could range from several hundred bucks to $25000 or more if you caused serious damage. You pay fines in court and not the property owner.
  • Restitution – Paying the owner because of the damage you caused is called restitution. It would typically cost you the same amount to repair the damage you have done to the property.
  • Probation – You could get a probation sentence instead of or in addition to your fines and jail sentence. For example, if you are a first-time offender who committed misdemeanor vandalism, a probation sentence would most likely be your penalty instead of prison. But if you violate the rules and conditions of your probation, you could serve the original sentence.
  • Community Service – The court may also require you to do community service as part of your punishment. Failure to do so could mean facing your original prison sentence and fines.

Unless you can throw eggs very far, egging could get you a trespassing violation. If the property has a fence, a moat, or anything that sends a clear message that no intruders are allowed. And you entered anyway to egg said property. You could get a serious jail sentence of up to one year or more.

Conclusion on if you should egg a house

Egging a house can either earn you a slap on the wrist or land you in jail because of a serious offense. So the lesson is: Don’t egg a house. If you get a vandalism charge because of egging, call a criminal defense lawyer immediately experienced with your local laws. You’ll get the best advice from lawyers who know how to handle a case like yours.

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