Denver Criminal Mischief Lawyer
Criminal mischief can be easy to commit, but can carry serious consequences. At Hebets & McCallin, we understand Colorado criminal mischief laws, and have the experience to defend you if you have been charged with destruction of property.
Criminal mischief is knowingly damaging the property of another person. Damage can include breaking, altering, vandalizing, or destroying something that belongs to someone else. Criminal mischief can apply to property that is jointly owned between the defendant and another person. For example, if you break a TV owned by you and your roommate, you can be charged with criminal mischief, despite your part-ownership of the item in question. Criminal mischief charges encompass destruction or damage to property as well as defacing property, like painting graffiti on the side of a building.
Because you can be charged with criminal mischief in instances where the damaged property is jointly owned by you and another person, criminal mischief charges can often arise during domestic disputes. Say for instance you are fighting with your significant other, and you slam the door so hard an expensive piece of artwork falls to the ground and breaks. If the police determine domestic violence occurred during the dispute, they can add criminal mischief to the list of charges because of the broken artwork.
One of the essential elements of criminal mischief is knowingly damaging someone else’s property. This means criminal mischief cannot be committed by accident. You had to know your actions would damage the property, or should have known damage could occur from your actions. Say for example you are playing catch in your backyard, and a wayward throw sends the ball through your neighbor’s window. That is not criminal mischief. However, if you are repeatedly throwing baseballs at your neighbor’s house and one of them breaks a window, you can be charged with criminal mischief. You may not have wanted the window to break, but you were in a situation where you should have known damage was likely to occur.
It is important to note that criminal mischief only relates to the damage of property, not the possession. If you take the property of someone else without their consent, that is theft. Criminal mischief focuses solely on the damage to the property in question.
While criminal mischief can be easy to commit, the charges can carry serious penalties. The severity of the penalty relates to the cost of the damage. If the damage was less than $1,000, you will be charged with either a class 2 or 1 misdemeanor and face up to 18 months in jail with up to $5,000 in fines. If the damage was greater than $1,000, you will be charged with a class 3 or 4 felony and see multiple years in prison and fines as high as $750,000.
If you have been charged with criminal mischief and destruction of property, the Law Firm of Hebets & McCallin work frequently with criminal mischief cases and will advocate aggressively on your behalf to ensure a favorable outcome.
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