Criminal mischief does not sound like a serious crime, but the criminal charges are very real. While criminal mischief is frequently a misdemeanor offense, it is not uncommon for some alleged violations to result in felony charges.
Criminal mischief charges are taken seriously by prosecutors expecting convictions. You need to understand that even a misdemeanor criminal mischief conviction can have very damaging effects on your future applications for employment, housing, or professional licensing.
Were you or your loved one arrested for criminal mischief in the Denton area? Do not speak to the police without an attorney.
Texas Penal Code § 28.03 establishes that a person commits criminal mischief if, without the effective consent of the owner:
Criminal mischief is a Class C misdemeanor if the amount of pecuniary loss is less than $100, or the offense causes substantial inconvenience to others. It is a Class B misdemeanor if the amount of pecuniary loss is $100 or more but less than $750, but criminal mischief is a Class A misdemeanor if the amount of pecuniary loss is $750 or more but less than $2,500 or the alleged offender causes in whole or in part impairment or interruption of any public water supply, or causes to be diverted in whole, in part, or in any manner, including installation or removal of any device for any such purpose, any public water supply, regardless of the amount of the pecuniary loss.
Criminal mischief is a state jail felony if the amount of pecuniary loss is:
Texas Penal Code § 28.03(f) establishes that criminal mischief is a state jail felony if the damage or destruction is inflicted on a place of worship or human burial, a public monument, or a community center that provides medical, social, or educational programs and the amount of the pecuniary loss to real property or to tangible personal property is $750 or more but less than $30,000. Under Texas Penal Code § 28.03(h), it is also a state jail felony if the amount of the pecuniary loss to real property or to tangible personal property is $750 or more but less than $30,000 and the damage or destruction is inflicted on a public or private elementary school, secondary school, or institution of higher education.
Criminal mischief is a third-degree felony if the amount of the pecuniary loss is $30,000 or more but less than $150,000, or the alleged offender, by discharging a firearm or other weapon or by any other means, causes the death of one or more head of cattle or bison or one or more horses. It is a second-degree felony if the amount of pecuniary loss is $150,000 or more but less than $300,000 and a first-degree felony if the amount of pecuniary loss is $300,000 or more.
Possible sentences for criminal mischief convictions depend on how the offense was graded. In general, statutory maximums are as follows:
In some cases, the person who is charged with criminal mischief is not the same person who committed the alleged offense. Police may arrest the wrong person based on incorrect eyewitness accounts.
Another possible defense could be that the alleged offender’s actions were not intentional and any property damage was accidental. In many cases, the amount of damage caused may be exaggerated and a criminal defense lawyer will ensure that an accurate assessment is given to the court.
18 U.S. Code § 1362 | Communication lines, stations or systems — This federal law prohibits willfully or maliciously injuring or destroying any of the works, property, or material of any radio, telegraph, telephone or cable, line, station, or system, or other means of communication, operated or controlled by the United States, or used or intended to be used for military or civil defense functions of the United States, whether constructed or in process of construction, or willfully or maliciously interfering in any way with the working or use of any such line, or system, or willfully or maliciously obstructs, hinders, or delays the transmission of any communication over any such line, or system. A person who attempts or conspires to perform such an act can be fined and/or imprisoned for up to 10 years.
18 U.S. Code § 1366 | Destruction of an energy facility — This federal law establishes that a person who knowingly and willfully damages or attempts or conspires to damage the property of an energy facility in an amount that in fact exceeds or would if the attempted offense had been completed, or if the object of the conspiracy had been achieved, have exceeded $100,000, or damages or attempts or conspires to damage the property of an energy facility in any amount and causes or attempts or conspires to cause a significant interruption or impairment of a function of an energy facility, can be ordered to pay a fine and/or sentenced to 20 years in prison. A person who knowingly and willfully damages or attempts to damage the property of an energy facility in an amount that in fact exceeds or would if the attempted offense had been completed have exceeded $5,000 can be ordered to pay a fine and/or sentenced to five years in prison. If either of these violations results in the death of any person, the alleged offender can be sentenced to any term of imprisonment up to life.
If you or your loved one has been arrested for alleged criminal mischief in Denton, you cannot wait long to get yourself legal counsel. The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy is ready to provide an aggressive legal defense.