What is Criminal Mischief?
West Palm Beach Criminal Attorney Defines the Crime
Florida statute 806.13 defines criminal mischief as "willfully and maliciously" injuring or damaging "by any means any real or personal property belonging to another." Common examples of criminal mischief include painting graffiti, vandalizing buildings or vehicles, or any other action which causes damage to another person's possessions. It is a charge which often arises in criminal defense cases in our community, and it may be prosecuted as a
misdemeanor crime or a
felony crime, depending on the circumstances.
Penalties for Criminal Mischief
The penalties for criminal mischief escalate according to how much damage was caused:
- If the damage caused amounts to less than $200, it is a 2nd-degree misdemeanor, with fines up to $500 and as many as 60 days in jail.
- For damage between $200 and $1,000, it is a 1st-degree misdemeanor, with jail time up to 1 year and fines as high as $1,000.
- Damage in excess of $1,000 is punishable as a 3rd-degree felony, with penalties including 5 years in prison and $5,000 in fines.
- If you are found guilty and have previously been convicted of criminal mischief, your sentence may be enhanced from a misdemeanor to a felony. Damage to a place of worship, such as a church or a mosque, will also increase the severity of your conviction. A West Palm Beach criminal defense attorney can meet with you to discuss your specific case and determine the best approach to having the charges dropped or reduced.
Tips to Fighting Your Charges
Allegations of criminal mischief put your freedom, your reputation and your future at risk, with the possibility of time in jail or prison and the prospect of having to live with a criminal record. Come to The Law Offices of Phillip T. Ridolfo, Jr. to work with a West Palm Beach criminal lawyer who has the experience and legal skill to fight for your rights. I firmly support my clients throughout the defense process, and I am the only person who will be handling your case. Speak with me before making any statements to the prosecution that could reduce your chances of a successful outcome.