Is It Illegal To Shake A Vending Machine In Minnesota? Here’s What the Law Says

Vending machines are ubiquitous in Minnesota, dispensing everything from refreshing sodas to hot meals. But what happens when your desired snack gets stuck, or the machine malfunctions entirely? Can you take matters into your own hands and give it a shake?

The answer, as with most legal matters, is nuanced. Shaking a vending machine in Minnesota may not be explicitly illegal, but it can land you in hot water depending on the circumstances and the severity of your actions.

Unpacking the Legalities: A Look at Minnesota Statutes

Minnesota law primarily focuses on criminal damage to property. According to Minnesota Statute 609.595, it is a misdemeanor to intentionally damage someone else’s property without their consent. The severity of the charge depends on the value of the damage caused.

Shaking a vending machine could be considered criminal damage if it causes physical harm to the machine, such as dents, scratches, or broken components. The cost of repairs would then determine the level of the offense:

  • Less than $100: This is a petty misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $300 or 90 days in jail.
  • Between $100 and $1,000: This is a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 or one year in jail.
  • More than $1,000: This is a felony, punishable by a fine of up to $35,000 or five years in prison.

Beyond Criminal Damage: Other Potential Consequences

Even if your shaking escapade doesn’t cause physical damage, you could still face legal repercussions. Here are some other potential consequences:

  • Trespassing: If the vending machine is located on private property, shaking it could be considered trespassing, especially if you’re warned to stop.
  • Disorderly conduct: If your shaking is accompanied by yelling, threats, or other disruptive behavior, you could be charged with disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 or 90 days in jail.
  • Civil liability: The owner of the vending machine could sue you for damages, even if you didn’t cause any physical harm.

Shake Smart: Alternative Solutions to Vending Machine Woes

Before you resort to forceful measures, consider these alternative solutions:

  • Report the issue: Most vending machines have contact information for the owner or service company. Report the malfunction and wait for qualified personnel to fix it.
  • Seek help: If you’re struggling to operate the machine, ask someone for help. A store employee or another customer might be able to assist you.
  • Walk away: Sometimes, the best course of action is to walk away and come back later. Trying to force the machine to dispense your snack can lead to more problems than it’s worth.

Remember: It’s always best to err on the side of caution. Shaking a vending machine, even out of frustration, is not worth the potential legal and financial consequences. If you encounter a problem, use common sense and seek help from the proper authorities.

Additional Considerations:

  • Age: If you’re under 18, the consequences for damaging a vending machine could be more severe.
  • Mental state: If you have a mental illness or disability that impairs your judgment, you may be eligible for a defense in court.
  • Prior offenses: If you have a history of criminal behavior, the judge may be more likely to impose a harsher sentence.


While shaking a vending machine may not be explicitly illegal in Minnesota, it’s a risky and potentially costly endeavor. By understanding the laws and considering the alternative solutions, you can avoid unnecessary trouble and ensure a smooth and legal snacking experience.

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