Don’t Put Laxatives in Someone’s Food: It Could Be a Felony

green lunch box with sandwich and fruit - illegal to put laxatives in someone's food

Don’t Put Laxatives in Someone’s Food: It Could Be a Felony

So, Midge at work has been stealing your lunches? Getting tired of making the perfect sandwich creation only to see half of it in the trash? 

We bet you’ve labeled, written notes, and even tried to hide it behind the expired creamer. While the internet might tell you to spike the next lunch, we are here to warn you that Midge is not worth the criminal conviction. People are quick to assume that because it’s your lunch it would not count as spiking someone’s food, however what matters is your intent. If you intend for Midge to eat it, it is the same as putting it into her lunchbox. 

That’s right, putting laxatives in someone’s food is illegal and could get you a ride in a police car. 

A Felony? But It’s Just a Prank! 

Yes, laxative pranks are illegal. Putting a laxative or any other drug, into someone else’s food or drink is a serious crime.

If you’re planning a prank, ask yourself two questions: 

1: Could it hurt someone?

2: Could it harm someone’s property?

If the answer to either question is yes, then you could end up facing charges. Even if you think it’s funny, you never know how someone else might react. Anger and violence are certainly possible, but a prank that involves a drug could have very serious consequences. Things like allergies or dehydration from vomiting or diarrhea could have deadly results for some people. 

What Type of Crime Is a Laxative Prank?

There are several laws that could be broken by giving someone a laxative without their knowledge. First of all, you could be charged with poisoning. Adding a harmful substance to someone else’s food, drink, or medicine is a crime. Even if a laxative might not seem harmful to you, it is potentially dangerous to others. 

You could also be looking at assault charges for intentionally causing injury to another person, especially if they were hospitalized. And if the victim of your prank dies, you could be charged with negligent homicide or even manslaughter

Depending on the circumstances, there is even a provision against using food as a hazing technique to humiliate, injure, or cause someone emotional damage. 

Yikes! What Are the Penalties for Those Crimes?

With assault and hazing charges, you could be looking at a class 1 misdemeanor if the prank victim walks away from the situation with only their ego bruised. That is a maximum sentence of 6 months in jail and a maximum fine of $2,500. 

Next, we move on to the felonies. Poisoning, negligent homicide, and manslaughter are all felonies with sentences ranging from 3 months to 35 years in prison along with fees and fines. 

Felony convictions also mean the loss of certain civil rights, and there is no possibility of probation or parole. Having a felony on your record can also make it hard to find future employment or housing. 

If You’ve Already Risked It, You Might Need a Good Lawyer 

If the outcome was good, and Midge stopped stealing your lunch, nice. If it ended in disaster and you find yourself being charged, contact us for a consultation on your case. You will need a lawyer who knows the ins and outs of the Arizona justice system. Todd Coolidge not only has over 25 years of experience, but he personally reviews all the cases himself, so your case will get the attention and care it deserves.



Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (8/21/23). Photo by Antoni Shkraba.