What is criminal mischief?
Criminal mischief occurs when someone knowingly damages the property of another person or even the joint property of the accused and the alleged victim. Paying the victim for the damage caused will not negate any criminal liability you may have; that is, if you pay for the damages caused to the property or replace the property prior to the involvement of law enforcement, charges may still be filed against you. Even if you were the one that purchased the property for the other person, you can still be criminally charged for damaging or destroying it.
Criminal mischief can either be a felony or misdemeanor, depending on the value of the property damaged. Criminal mischief resulting in damage of less than $100 is a class 3 misdemeanor, while criminal mischief resulting in damage between $100 and $500 is a class 2 misdemeanor. Damage of $500 but less than $1,000 is a class 2 misdemeanor. Damage between $1,000 and $15,000 is a class 4 felony, while damage of more than $15,000 is a class 3 felony.
Criminal Mischief and Domestic Violence
Criminal mischief charges often arise in the domestic violence context. When a couple, or former couple, gets into an argument, property is often unintentionally or intentionally destroyed. Sometimes, property is destroyed as a means of avoiding engaging in any physical contact and releasing pent up negative energy.
Tire slashing or damage to a cellular phone are among the most common manifestations of criminal mischief in the domestic violence context.
I often get asked how a person can be charged with domestic violence if they did not actually touch the other alleged victim. Domestic violence does not require actual physical contact, only the existence of a current or former intimate relationship.
Mitigating your Criminal Mischief Case
Oftentimes, a defense attorney will implement a defense strategy of mitigation in achieving an optimal outcome in your case. That may consist of taking actions or gathering information and then conveying that information to the prosecuting attorney.
Should you ultimately enter a plea of guilty in your criminal case, you will be required to pay restitution for the damage caused. Paying the cost of the entire damage caused upfront can in some circumstances mitigate your case such that a better outcome is possible.
How Could This Charge Impact Your Record?
A charge of criminal mischief cannot be sealed unless your case results in a dismissal or dismissal following successful completion of a deferred judgement. Even the passage of many years will not erase the charge.
Consult with a Defense Attorney Today
Kimberly Diego has successfully defended many individuals charged with both misdemeanor and felony crimes of criminal mischief throughout the Denver area.
To schedule a free initial consultation, call 720-257-5346 or fill out a free case review form, and a representative from the Law Office of Kimberly Diego will contact you as soon as possible.