Along with trick-or-treating, Halloween brings with it the not-always-appreciated tradition of egging and toilet papering homes and cars. While the rowdy kids who commit such acts often think of it as harmless fun, for homeowners it can be quite the nuisance.
But is it criminal? According to New Jersey law, the act of throwing eggs or toilet paper at another person’s home or car can be considered vandalism. Purposefully or negligently damaging tangible property of another can result in a conviction for criminal mischief under N.J.S.A. 2C:17-3.
The punishment for vandalism depends on the amount of damage done. If the damage is valued at less than $500, it is typically a disorderly persons offense, which could lead to up to six months in jail. Damage valued between $500 and $2,000 is prosecuted as a fourth-degree crime, which carries up to 18 months in prison, plus fines. Since most instances of egging or toilet papering would cause minimal damage, a disorderly persons offense is the most likely scenario should a homeowner pursue charges.
It is also worth noting, however, that any act of vandalism in a cemetery, gravesite, or mausoleum is considered a third-degree crime regardless of the amount of damage done. That could lead to three to five years in prison (plus any fallout from angering the dead).
The good news for most ghouls and ghosts out there is that very few instances of egging or toilet papering result in charges. However, if you targeted the wrong house and you or your child has been arrested for vandalism or for any other criminal offense in New Jersey, contact an attorney for help. The lawyers of the Rosenblum Law Firm are skilled criminal defense attorneys with experience helping people in similar situations. Email the Rosenblum Law Firm or call 888-979-7551 today for a free consultation about your case.
If you raise the dead, however, you’re on your own!