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In the state of New York, a person can be charged with Criminal Mischief if they’ve engaged in vandalism or the destruction of property. There are different degrees of seriousness when it comes to a charge of Criminal Mischief. A person needs to know that being charged with this is very serious. A conviction could result in a person serving significant time in jail.
What Must Be Proven
There are a number of situations that could result in a person being charged with Criminal Mischief. This includes domestic disputes, vandalism as well as different type of disagreements that cause property damage and more. It is common for these charges to be reduced and in some cases; dismissed. A prosecutor is required to show a defendant had specific intent to cause specific damage to property. It will also have to be proven a defendant did not have any right to damage the property. A prosecutor will also have to show a defendant knew they had no reasonable grounds to believe they had any right to damage the property.
When a person is charged with Criminal Mischief in the First Degree, it must be proven they damaged the property of another individual using an explosive. The extent of damage is unimportant. It is considered a Class B Non-Violent Felony.
To be convicted of this it must be proven a person damaged the property of another person and the value of the damage was more than $1,500. Second Degree Criminal Mischief is considered a Class D Non-Violent Felony.
A person can be found guilty of Criminal Mischief in the Third Degree when it is proven they damaged the property of another person and the value of the damaged property was more than $250. They can also be found guilty if it is proven they broke into a locked vehicle with the intent to steal property. A person can be found guilty if it is proven they were convicted of any degree of criminal mischief three or more times during the past ten years. This is considered a Class E Non-Violent Felony.
In order to be convicted of this, it must be proven a person intentionally damaged another person’s property. This extent of the damage does not matter. It could be they intentionally took part in the destruction of an abandoned structure as well as recklessly damaging the property of another individual with damage valued at over $250. It is considered a Class A Misdemeanor. Once a person is convicted, they could spend up to twelve months in jail.
There are certain factors involved with a charge of Criminal Mischief that will have a direct impact on the outcome of the case and influence how it is prosecuted. If the charge of Criminal Mischief is associated with domestic violence, an arrest may be required. When this happens, a prosecutor will pursue it aggressively. Should the damaged property be owned by the accused or shared ownership with another, this could be considered a defense. This crime is determined by a person being held responsible for damaging the property of another individual.
In order for a person to be convicted of Criminal Mischief; intent must be established. An individual’s intent to damage property must be shown to have been for that specific purpose. This is a crucial aspect of establishing guilt. It is possible in some situations for a prosecutor to proceed with charges if they can prove the damage was the result of a person’s recklessness.
There is not one defense that will fit every situation. An experienced attorney will know what to look for in each situation. They will want to know what it contained within the complaint against their client. A defense attorney will want to know if it lists an item as damaged or explains how the item was damaged. They will look to see if ownership of the damaged item has been firmly established. It may be possible for their client to have had permission to destroy the property. The more an attorney knows about the situation, the better the defense they can provide their client.
When a person is charged with Criminal Mischief, it is possible to obtain a plea agreement. An experienced attorney will know what a person can expect to happen based on their individual situation. It’s possible to get charges reduced and in some cases even dropped. This will depend on a person’s past criminal history, understanding of ownership of the damaged property and more.
It’s possible for people to get caught up in the moment and do something they regret. This could take the form of destroying property. What makes it worse is when this results in someone getting arrested for Criminal Mischief. A defense attorney will know how to carefully examine a case. They will know the best way to proceed legally to obtain the best possible result for their client.