While criminal mischief charges may not strike you as being particularly serious, the fact is that these acts against someone else's property are crimes that the State of Texas takes very seriously. Depending upon how serious the damage you are alleged to have caused is, the charges can range from a misdemeanor to a Class I felony. In other words, you should take criminal mischief charges extremely seriously.
Getting Creative with Graffiti
You know graffiti when you see it on buildings, walls, trains, garages, and much more. Graffiti refers to the act of knowingly marking someone else’s property with any of the following:
- Characters and other kinds of marks
Further, the very content of the graffiti can affect the seriousness of the charge if it includes threatening language or a slur of some kind (for example, a racist, sexist, ethnic, or religious slur). Teenagers are often charged with this variety of criminal mischief.
Tampering with Property
Tampering with property refers to intentionally or knowingly tampering with someone else’s property in a manner that causes the other person to suffer a loss or to be inconvenienced in some way. Even hiding something of someone else’s on their own property – and inconveniencing the person in the process – can rise to the level of a criminal mischief charge. Now that many residences have security cameras, these charges are becoming more common and are often easier to prove.
Destruction of Property
Destruction of property is exactly what it sounds like – intentionally or knowingly destroying or damaging someone else's property. Breaking windows, damaging lawn decorations, and other such acts generally suffice to warrant destruction of property charges. Of all these categories, charges of destruction of property are the most likely to end in felony charges – even without aggravating circumstances.
The Level of the Charge
Charges of criminal mischief are examined on a case-by-case basis, but the amount of monetary damage is often the deciding factor when it comes to how you will be charged. For property damage to reach the felony level, the damages need only exceed $2,500, and it is important to remember that property damage to someone else’s home or landscaping can add up very quickly. Being convicted of such a felony can lead to up to two years in jail and to the stigma of being permanently branded as a felon. Even criminal mischief misdemeanor charges are criminal charges – the effects of which should never be underestimated.
Call Us Today to Schedule a Free Case Evaluation with a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Killeen
Criminal mischief charges are serious charges that can end with you facing felony charges. Attorney Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Killeen, Texas, is committed to working closely with you in defense of your rights and on behalf of your future. For more information, please do not hesitate to contact or call us at 254-501-4040 today.