Criminal Mischief in West Palm Beach
In Florida, people are expected to respect others' property. We're not supposed to willfully and intentionally damage or destroy someone else's property, regardless of how little the item is actually worth. While this practice is frowned upon, normal citizens commit this offense regularly.
A teenager may vandalize the school's property by writing graffiti on a locker or on one of the school's bathroom mirrors. An enraged girlfriend may key her boyfriend's car, or an equally angry boyfriend may slash his girlfriend's designer purses after learning of her infidelity.
All of these acts of destruction fall under the heading of criminal mischief, which is criminalized under Section 806.13 of the Florida Statutes. If this offense seems minor to you, I assure you it's not.
Depending on the value of the damage, it can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or a felony offense, which can lead to hefty fines and imprisonment. If you made a mistake, you don't want that!
Criminal damage under Sec. 806.13:
- Criminal damage is a misdemeanor of the second degree if the damage is $200 or less, punishable by up to 60 days in jail, and a fine not to exceed $500.
- Criminal damage is a misdemeanor of the first degree if the value of the property damaged is more than $200, but less than $1,000. A first degree misdemeanor is punishable by up to one year in jail, and a fine not to exceed $1,000.
- Criminal damage is a third degree felony if the value of the property damaged was $1,000 or more. A third degree felony is punishable by up to 5 years in prison, and a fine not to exceed $5,000.
In addition to the above, there are other provisions for things such as repeat offenses, damaging a church or house of worship, and willfully destroying public telephone lines, antennas or cables.
If the defendant is a minor who intentionally defaced someone's property with graffiti, or who vandalized someone else's property, the juvenile delinquent's parents may be liable for the fine.
Additionally, if the teen has a driver's license or is old enough to have one, the court will direct the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to either revoke their driver's license or withhold their license for up to one year.
If you are facing criminal mischief charges, you need a strong defense. Contact me today for a free case evaluation. Let me help you fight your charges!