Mischief Night: Don’t Egg Your Ex’s Car
Under the recent unpublished decision I.M.R. v. A.R.S, decided October 13, 2021, the Defendant (we’ll call her ex-girlfriend) was accused of criminal mischief and harassment. On July 21, 2019, ex-girlfriend and her friend, while having a few drinks exchanged relationship horror stories. Ex-girlfriend’s friend was particularly upset about how ex-girlfriend’s recent relationship ended with the Plaintiff (we’ll call him ex-boyfriend). So, they allegedly took an Uber to ex-boyfriend’s home and the friend egged ex-boyfriend’s car and wrote on it “suck it” with mustard. When contacted by ex-boyfriend, ex-girlfriend advised him that she did not egg his car, but knew who did.
First lesson to be learned: What may have seemed innocent fun as kids during Mischief Night, has potential criminal ramifications. Regardless of how tempting it may be to chuck a few eggs or hurl a few rolls of toilet paper onto somebody else’s property, it is not only criminal mischief but may be grounds to obtain a temporary or final restraining order.
Second lesson to be learned: Admit to nothing. The trial court entered a Final Restraining Order in ex-boyfriend’s favor based on harassment and criminal mischief because ex-girlfriend was present when the egging occurred and admitted to it.
The Appellate Court overturned the decision of the trial court because mere presence at the scene of a crime is insufficient to establish culpability. There needs to be actual participation.
In addition, Plaintiff did not present any evidence that the value of his car was reduced or its usefulness diminished in any way by being hit with eggs or mustard. Consequently, the Appellate Court vacated the Final Restraining Order.
Final lesson: Don’t egg anyone on Mischief Night, and be careful with whom you share your ex-boyfriend/girlfriend horror stories!