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Can You Go To Jail For Slashing Tires? [ Answered ]

Can You Go To Jail For Slashing Tires? [ Answered ]

Slashing someone’s car tires isn’t a very uncommon way to seek revenge against a person. In case you hold a major grudge against a neighbor, a colleague, or anyone who may have wronged you, you might be considering the idea too.

However, slashing someone else’s tires essentially means damaging property that doesn’t belong to you and you have no right over.

This gives rise to questions regarding the legal implications of the act, and whether you could land in jail for it. While the chances of going to jail for slashing someone’s tires are low, you could still face charges for criminal mischief and vandalism.

Can you go to jail for slashing tires?

While slashing someone’s tires is definitely an offense punishable by law, it doesn’t usually land someone in prison.

However, getting caught would require you to fork out penalties for the damage and you might have to reimburse the owner. The intensity of punishment you’ll face for slashing someone’s tires depends on the damage you do. Regardless, it is very unlikely that you will have to go to jail for it unless you have a criminal past.


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Can you get away with slashing tires?

Well, whether you can get away with slashing someone’s tires depends mostly on how careful you are. You should usually be fine if nobody catches you in the act or there’s no CCTV camera recording the incident. Here are some ways on how people try to get away with slashing tires:

1. Check for CCTV

First and foremost, you’d want to make sure that no CCTV cameras are recording you in the act of slashing the tires. All other precautions you take can become totally useless if the car owner produces a footage of you slashing their car’s tires. It is best to do the job in an area you know well and are sure you’re not under surveillance.

2. Be discreet

It’s a little obvious, but being discreet is crucial when you’re going to slash someone’s tires. Any eyewitness can testify against you, or even alert the authorities themselves. When slashing the tires, you’ll have to be very swift. This is why it is always advisable to slash a tire with a single, powerful strike.

3. Do not draw attention

Assuming that there are other people around, you certainly don’t want to draw any attention to yourself. Acting suspiciously in public will naturally make them look at you, even if they didn’t notice you earlier.

Just walk around normally rather than pacing around the same place and staying near the car for too long. Also, keep your slashing weapon hidden right until you’re ready to use it – walking around with a knife or any other sharp object isn’t a good idea while trying to stay discreet.

4. Keep it silent

Depending on how you do it, slashing a tire can be extremely noisy. Especially if you are slashing a tire to immobilize a vehicle so that you can escape safely from a dangerous place, being noisy could put you in serious danger.

You need a very sharp tool to slash a tire without much noise. Slash hard and fast, so that you can quickly cut a big slit into the tire’s sidewall. The larger the cut, the less noise the air will generate while escaping.


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What happens if you slash 3 tires?

When slashing tires as mischief or revenge against someone, people often slash three tires instead of all four. This is because although slashing four tires causes more damage, slashing only three actually causes the car owner more inconvenience and costs them more money to replace the tires. Here’s why:

  • Unless the vehicle’s insurance is comprehensive enough to cover vandalism, the car owner won’t receive any reimbursement for three tire replacements. Regular insurance plans cover tire replacements only when the car needs replacements for all four tires at once.
  • Many tire shops offer a Buy 3 and Get 1 free deal, which is convenient and cost-effective for buyers who need four tires. However, they won’t really benefit from this deal if they need to replace only three tires.

Ultimately, the only reason to leave one tire untouched is to make the car owner face greater losses and more inconvenience.

How much jail time can you get for slashing tires?

As we pointed out previously, it is very unlikely that slashing someone’s tires will land you in jail at all in the first place. However, you might face jail time if you have a criminal track record, especially a repeating history of slashing tires.

The extent of damage you inflict largely determines how severe your punishment would be. For example, if you destroy tires worth more than USD 1000 in total, you might face up to five years in prison. For damages worth less than USD 1000, your penalty could be a year in county jail.

Is the Number of Tires Important while slashing tires?

If your goal is simply to immobilize a car, it doesn’t matter. As a car can’t run unless all four tires are functional, slashing just one tire should be enough.

However, you could slash three or four tires if you do it because of a grudge and simply want to cause damage. As described earlier, having three slashed tires is generally more problematic for the car owner.

What Types of Criminal Charges can be imposed for slashing tires?

The charges you will face will depend on the laws of the state you’re in and the extent of damage you have caused. Commonly, the criminal charges you can face for slashing tires include:

  • Criminal mischief
  • Misdemeanor
  • Vandalism
  • Felony (if the tires are worth over 1000 dollars in total).


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Although it is unlikely that you’ll have to face jail time for slashing tires, we highly discourage you from doing it. Even if your criminal record is clean and you don’t end up in prison, you’ll still have to pay for the damages, fines, and court charges if caught. Hence, taking out your grudge against someone by slashing their tires is never a good idea.