What Is Criminal Mischief in Florida?
Most crimes are clear cut – murder, theft, etc. – but what about crimes that aren’t as obvious or familiar? We define criminal mischief and what can happen if you’re accused in Florida.
According to Florida statute 806.13, criminal mischief is willful and/or malicious damage to personal property. In other words, intentional vandalism or property damage is considered criminally mischievous under the law.
- Defacing statues or likenesses
- Putting sugar or other chemicals in someone’s gas tank
- Putting a virus on a private or public computer
- Tampering with fire hydrants
- Vandalizing a grave
- Removing boundary markers
- Tampering with alarms or emergency exits
- Removing the paint off of someone’s vehicle
- Breaking windows on a home or public building
These are just a few examples of criminal mischief but keep in mind that regardless of your motivation or intent, property damage can still be a crime. Putting your ex’s phone number on a bathroom stall or destroying their vintage collection is illegal and can land you in hot water with law enforcement.
Penalties for Criminal Mischief
Charges of mischief may seem fairly innocuous in the grand scheme of criminal accusations, but depending on the degree of damage, you could pay fines or be charged with a felony. What separates your case from a minor misdemeanor to jail time is the value of the demolished or damaged property.
- If the damages were less than $200, the crime is considered a second-degree misdemeanor and is punishable by fines up to $500 and up to 60 days in jail.
- If the damages were between $200 and $1,000, the crime is considered a first-degree misdemeanor and is punishable by fines up to $1,000 and one year in jail.
- If the damages were over $1,000, the crime is a third-degree felony, and the offender will be responsible for paying fines up to $5,000 and may spend up to five years in prison.
Keep in mind that while jail is certainly not a place you want to be, a prison sentence can be devastating.
In addition to fines and time behind bars, there are other consequences for committing a crime. If you are arrested, charged, and/or convicted of a crime in Florida, you will carry a criminal record for the foreseeable future.
Applicants with criminal records are less likely to get jobs, qualify for loans and grants, and may not be able to vote depending on the state. In Florida, convicted felons can vote but only after they have paid all fines, fees, and restitution and served their sentence in its entirety.
Even though there are more sympathetic and open-minded people in the world, a criminal record can make life extremely difficult. You may not be able to buy a house, rent an apartment, go to college, or qualify for some government aid. Without transportation, a home, and money, it’s almost impossible to be a functioning member of society. However, it is possible to get a fresh start.
Reclaim Your Future
Those with a criminal record face many challenges, but expungement and record sealing can help you get back on your feet. The Law Offices of Phillip T. Ridolfo, Jr. believes that everyone deserves a second chance regardless of their past, which is why we help clients pursue expungement.
Expungement essentially deletes a crime from your record, so it’s as if it never happened. This can make it easier to apply for jobs and other opportunities you need to bounce back. You are not your past, which is why you should contact our firm so we can help you reclaim your future.