We all know that teenagers will be teenagers, and after a big game, a Halloween party, or anything in between, they tend to get a bit rowdy. Such behavior is all fun and games until things go too far. When teenagers – or anyone – damages someone else’s property in the process, it is a crime with serious attendant penalties (even if the perpetrators are not yet adults). No parent wants to get a call informing them that their child is in custody. Better understanding the charge of criminal mischief can help you avoid this fate.
The Charge of Criminal Mischief
In the State of Texas, when a person vandalizes or damages property that belongs to someone else, it is considered criminal mischief. To rise to the level of criminal mischief, the accused must have knowingly or intentionally performed the act in question. Criminal mischief can come in several forms, including:
- Damaging property that belongs to someone else
- Tampering with property that belongs to someone else and that leads to significant loss or inconvenience
- Tagging (or drawing graffiti) on property that belongs to someone else
Any of these amount to criminal mischief, and it is easy to see how a night of teenage revelry could lead to such charges.
Examples of Criminal Mischief
While examples of criminal mischief abound, there are several that are most commonly associated, including:
- Defacement (or destruction) of a public or private property
- Damage to a school or place of business
- Damage to a home or dwelling
- Damage to a motor vehicle
As the extent of the damage rises, so too do the associated legal penalties.
The penalties associated with criminal mischief are in direct relation to the cost associated with the damaged property, as outlined below:
Damages under $100 – Damages that do not reach $100 are classified as Class C misdemeanors, which carry maximum fines of $500.
Damages between $100 and $750 – Damages that range from $100 to $750 are classified as Class B misdemeanors, which carry up to 180 days in jail and up to $2,000 in fines.
Damages between $750 and $2,500 – Damages that range from $750 to $2,500 are classified as Class A misdemeanors, which carry up to one year in jail and up to $4,000 in fines.
Damages between $2,500 and $30,000 – Damages in this higher range are state jail felonies that are punishable by up to two years in jail and by fines of up to $10,000.
If You or Someone You Are Close to Is Facing a Criminal Mischief Charge, Consult with an Experienced Attorney Today
If your child – or you – are facing criminal mischief charges, attorney Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Killeen, Texas, has the experience, dedication, and skill to help guide your case toward its most positive resolution. We are here to help, so please do not hesitate to contact or call us at (254) 220-4225 for more information today.