Criminal mischief is likely one of the most largely prosecuted property crimes. This is due, in part, to the wide nature of the language of this law. Despite its frequent appearance in the courts, you shouldn’t be any less concerned about your potential penalties.Charged with a crime in New Jersey? Please call (800) 673-3656
Whether you destroyed the property of someone else out of anger, general mischief, like vandalism, or even by accident, you can face this criminal charge. While we all make mistakes, making one that has criminal consequences can be quite sobering.
As a New Jersey defense lawyer, I have handled numerous cases of criminal mischief in our local courts. I know how these cases tend to progress and have experience reaching plea agreements and even going to trial with my clients.
Although I have handled many of these cases in the past, I know that each case is different. Contact me today to tell me the specifics of your case and let’s discuss the potential options available to you.
Why am I charged with Criminal Mischief?
The prosecutor must have probable cause to believe you committed a crime. In this case, the crime is criminal mischief.
You may be charged with criminal mischief if you are accused of purposely, knowingly, or recklessly tampering or damaging the property of another. It could be an act of vandalism, or other willful damage to another person’s property. The seriousness of the charge you face depends on numerous factors.
New Jersey Criminal Mischief Laws & Penalties
What kind of sentence am I facing if I am convicted of a criminal mischief offense?
Criminal mischief is a crime in the 3rd degree when:
- the act causes a loss of $2,000 or more,
- the act damages research property of a research facility
- the act damages property of a cemetery, grave site, or similar
- the act causes interruption or impairment of public transportation or utilities
These offenses are punishable by up to 3 to 5 years in prison.
You could face a criminal charge in the 4th degree if you are found to commit criminal mischief where:
- the act causes a loss of more than $500 and less than $2,000, or
- the act involves the digging up or tampering with gas lines, cable lines, or telecommunication lines.
These particular criminal mischief instances are punishable by up to 18 months in prison.
If you are found to have committed an act of criminal mischief where the damage is valued at less than $500, you will face a disorderly persons charge.
As with any criminal charge, if convicted you will likely be ordered to pay fines and possibly restitution.
New Jersey Graffiti Offenses
Graffiti is charged as criminal mischief too, the only difference being you may be required to reimburse the owner of the proper in question and you will likely be required to perform community service involving the removal of the graffiti.
Ref: NJ Stat. §2C: 17
You don’t have to face criminal mischief charges alone. Having an advocate in your corner on your day in court helps ensure that your rights are looked after and that you get the fair shake you deserve.
Contact me to discuss the details of your case and to get some free legal advice. Together we can discuss the best actions for your particular case.
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