A person commits the offense of criminal mischief if he or she willfully and maliciously injures or damages by any means any real or personal property belonging to another including but not limited to the placement of graffiti thereon or other acts of vandalism thereto. Therefore, the offense of criminal mischief does not apply to someone damaging his or her own property.
The degree of the crime is dependent upon the amount of monetary damages sustained by the property. Any person who is guilty of criminal mischief may, in addition to any other criminal penalty, be required to pay for the damages caused. In addition to any other penalty provided by law, a minor who is found to have placed graffiti on any public or private property may have eligibility for a driver's license revoked or withheld for up to one year or if the minor has a license that has been suspended, the suspension may be extended for up to one year.
Typically, the crime of criminal mischief is charged along with burglary and theft. Another common scenario involves a domestic violence dispute where property is damaged in the altercation. If the damage to the property is in excess of $1,000 then the crime is elevated to a third degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison. Otherwise, the offense is a misdemeanor in varying degrees.
Erick has successfully defended clients accused of criminal mischief. Oftentimes, Erick can identify issues related to the value of the damaged property that results in reducing the charges or dismissing the case altogether.
Call Erick to discuss your case with him and find out how to get your case dismissed or charges and sentence reduced and arrest record sealed or expunged.