Yes, you can go to jail for egging a house.
However, a jail sentence is not guaranteed in every case.
Can You Go To Jail For Egging A House? (EXPLAINED)
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Is Egging A House Illegal?
Yes. Definitely illegal.
What Is Egging A House?
“Egging a house” is what you think it is.
It is throwing raw eggs at the house.
In most cases, this is done furtively, at night.
A group of people (usually young people, like teenagers), run or drive by, throw raw eggs, and then run away.
Why Is Egging A House Illegal?
The owner of the house is left with a mess, or even property damage.
Raw eggs can break windows, fixtures, and other decor at they hit.
The raw egg material can also cause damage to the paint, as the raw egg is corrosive to paint surfaces.
If the egg were to hit a person, serious physical injury could be the result.
The Crime Of Egging A House
We do not know of any jurisdiction that contains a specific law about “egging.”
Instead, there are more broad laws that egging would fall under.
The first and most obvious is criminal trespassing.
Simple trespassing that does not involve property damage might not even be charged as a crime.
Trespassing that involves property damage is likely to result in criminal charges.
Whether the trespass is a misdemeanor or a felony will depend on the jurisdiction (whether trespass can be a felony there), and the value of the property damage.
Some states have specific laws titled “vandalism” while others use the title “criminal mischief.”
Criminal mischief usually has different degrees of seriousness, depending upon the value of the damage caused.
In either case, the heart of the statutes are about whether the defendant willfully damaged property of someone else.\
Depending upon your conduct while on the property as the eggs were thrown, additional criminal charges could be added.
Some potential examples are: littering (leaving the eggs and containers behind), disorderly conduct (causing a disturbance), stalking, curfew violations, and more.
Will You Go To Jail For Egging A House?
We don’t know the answer to that question.
There’s a lot that goes into whether a jail sentence is the appropriate sanction (punishment) for the conduct.
The prosecuting attorney (and the involved law enforcement officers) will look carefully at:
- the age of the person who threw the eggs
- the criminal history of the person who threw the eggs (meaning have they been prosecuted for this behavior before, or other similar behavior)
- the factual circumstances of the egging (was it done in good spirits and fun, or was it done with the intent to cause a lot of damage, or was it retaliation for another incident)
- the amount of resulting damage (a few eggs on the sidewalk vs broken windows, damaged paint)
- the opinion of the homeowner (prosecute them to the extent of the law or not that angry)
The prosecution has the freedom to choose which charges are brought.
If the prosecutor wants to go hard at the offender, he can pursue him to the extent of the charges available.
For example, if $1000 of damage was caused, the prosecutor could proceed with the felony charge of vandalism, or pursue the lesser charge of misdemeanor vandalism.
It really goes back to the list of circumstances we talked about a few paragraphs above.
The is one person that cannot be controlled in resolving the criminal charges of egging, and that person is the judge.
The prosecutor can steer the case by filing certain charges, serious or less serious.
And those charges, by statute, have maximum penalties that even a judge cannot bypass.
In the end, is a person pleads guilty or is found guilty, the judge will usually have the power to determine the sentence.
She’ll look at the age of the offender, the factual circumstances, and how the jail sentence may impact the individual in the future.
Jail will make sense for some folks, while it may not make sense for others.
Does The Homeowner Have The Power To “Press Charges”?
The homeowner is not in charge of whether the case goes forward (or not).
That is up to law enforcement and the prosecutor.
However, the prosecutor will listen to the homeowner’s opinion (and how angry they are) in making decisions about how to proceed with the case.
It should be noted though that criminal court is not the only place where egging could land you.
If you trespass or cause damage to someone else’s property, you could find yourself a party in a civil lawsuit.
The homeowner can sue you for the trespass and property damage.
This could happen in small claims court (where attorneys are usually not allowed) or this could happen in open court with attorneys and all the rest.
This could end up costing an offender thousands of dollars, and end up punishing them way worse than spending a few nights in county lockup.
House Egging Is A Bad Idea
In general, if you are considering pranking a friend, egging their house is a monstrously bad idea for so many reasons.
Eggs could hurt someone if you hit them.
Eggs can and will damage the property.
Criminal charges (including jail) could result.
Civil damages are also another potential outcome.
For similar reasons, we don’t recommend TPing houses either (another common prank of teenagers).
Want to learn more about your criminal justice system?
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