Vending machines are ubiquitous in Missouri, providing a convenient way to grab a snack or drink on the go. But what happens if you get frustrated with a vending machine that malfunctioned and refuses to dispense your item? Can you give it a shake to try to get it working?
The answer is not as simple as a yes or no. Shaking a vending machine in Missouri could be considered vandalism, which is a crime in the state. However, there are several factors that would be considered before charges are filed, and the specific circumstances of your case would ultimately determine the outcome.
Vandalism Laws in Missouri
Vandalism in Missouri is defined as the willful and malicious destruction of property. This includes any damage to property, regardless of its value. The severity of the vandalism charge depends on the amount of damage caused.
- Minor Vandalism: If the damage caused is less than $150, it is considered a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
- Major Vandalism: If the damage caused is between $150 and $5,000, it is considered a felony punishable by up to five years in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.
- Felony Vandalism: If the damage caused is more than $5,000, it is a felony punishable by up to seven years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000.
Applying Vandalism Laws to Vending Machines
So, how does this apply to shaking a vending machine? Shaking a vending machine could be considered vandalism if it causes any damage to the machine. This could include anything from scratches and dents to broken glass or internal components.
The key factor is whether the shaking was done with the intent to damage the machine. If you were simply trying to get the machine to dispense your item and did not intend to cause any damage, you may not be charged with vandalism. However, if you shook the machine so hard that you knew it was likely to be damaged, you could be charged with a crime.
In addition to the intent to damage, there are other factors that would be considered before charges are filed in a vending machine vandalism case. These factors include:
- The amount of damage caused: Even if you did not intend to damage the machine, you could still be charged with vandalism if you caused significant damage.
- The cost of repairs: The cost of repairing the damage would be considered when determining the severity of the charge.
- Your criminal history: If you have a history of vandalism or other crimes, you are more likely to be charged.
What to Do if You Shake a Vending Machine
If you shake a vending machine and cause damage, it is important to stay calm and assess the situation. If the damage is minor, you may simply want to report the incident to the owner of the vending machine and offer to pay for the repairs. However, if the damage is significant, you should contact the police and explain what happened.
It is also important to remember that even if you are not charged with a crime, you may still be liable for the cost of repairs. The owner of the vending machine could sue you in civil court to recover the damages.
Shaking a vending machine is a risky proposition in Missouri. Even if you do not intend to cause any damage, you could still be charged with vandalism if you cause significant harm. If you find yourself in a situation where you are frustrated with a vending machine, it is best to walk away and try again later. There are simply too many risks involved in taking matters into your own hands.
I hope this article has been helpful. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment below.