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Yes, You Can Get Arrested for Attacking an Inanimate Object

By Daniel Taylor, Esq. | Last updated on

In case you missed it, a Connecticut man was arrested this week for allegedly stabbing a watermelon in a "passive aggressive" way.

Of course, violence against fruit isn't typically a crime (otherwise fruit salad would be a lot more expensive). But in this case, police say the man's alleged melon mangling was meant to send a threatening message to his wife -- who had just reported the man's drug stash to police and was going through a divorce, reports The Register Citizen.

The incident brings up an interesting legal question: Under what circumstances can attacking an inanimate object get you arrested?

Threats of Violence

Many times, arrests for violence against inanimate objects are due to the threatening nature of the conduct toward other people. In the alleged watermelon stabber's case, he was arrested for second degree threatening and disorderly conduct, both of which make it a crime to act in a way intended to threaten another person with physical violence.

Similarly, a Wyoming woman who stabbed a teddy bear earlier this year was arrested and charged with assault -- another crime that involves the use of threatening conduct to put another in fear of immediate violence.

Destruction of Property

Stabbing or otherwise violently attacking an inanimate object can also get you in trouble if the object you're destroying happens to belong to someone else. Destroying or defacing someone else's property is considered vandalism.

Although you probably wouldn't be charged with vandalism for stabbing someone else's piece of fruit, you would likely be charged with vandalism for stabbing someone else's car tires, or any other possession of value. Vandalism can also encompass everything from chopping down your neighbor's trees to get a better view to smashing up the display cases at the head shop that sold your son bath salts.

So bottom line: If you feel the need to attack an inanimate object, try a punching bag. Or better yet, mow the lawn -- just make sure it's not your neighbor's lawn and it's not 4:30 a.m.

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