When you purposely set out to damage the property of another you may find yourself facing a charge of Criminal Mischief. Vandalizing or defacing public property also constitutes Criminal Mischief.
How Much Trouble Am I In?
Well, that depends on several factors. Typically, the level of offense (felony vs. misdemeanor) is based on the amount of damage you’ve caused. Criminal Mischief is a Class B Felony if you cause in excess of $1,500 in damage. Otherwise, Criminal Mischief is a misdemeanor offense when the damage is over $100 but remains under $1,500.
What Are Some Defenses To Criminal Mischief?
Criminal mischief requires the State to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that you acted purposely or recklessly. So, assume for a moment that you plop yourself down in a chair and immediately hear a terrible crunching noise. You jump up and look at the chair only to discover that you’ve sat on, and crushed, your partners reading glasses. This was an accident and, thus, does not constitute the crime of Criminal Mischief.
Breaking or damaging your own property is not an offense. Assume you’re in an argument with your friend about which baseball team is better, New York or Boston. Your friend thinks New York is the better team. You vehemently disagree. In a moment of rage, you flip over your glass coffee table and it breaks into a million pieces. This is not a crime as the property, coffee table, were yours.