Criminal Mischief is a crime in Texas where there is generally an act of vandalism or the act of damaging someone's property or vehicle. Criminal Mischief is often times considered a crime that some may say is just “unfair”. The fact is you could find yourself in trouble with the law if you destroy someone’s property during a fit of anger, even if you happen to be related to the victim. It could be your teenage child out on a Halloween night “having fun” or just “fooling around” and you could find yourself at the jailhouse bailing your child, friend or loved one out of jail. So, if you or a loved one finds yourself facing criminal mischief charges you need to find an aggressive and experienced criminal defense attorney. A one-time mistake can leave you with a criminal record that you will find very difficult to explain to a potential employer, school, or any organization that you may try to do business with later in life. In other words, a Criminal Mischief conviction could keep employers from hiring you or schools from accepting you, and it could end up haunting you for life.
If you are facing allegations or charges of criminal mischief, call Eyler Law Offices at 214-540-7750, or email us from our contact pages to discuss your criminal mischief case.
Criminal Mischief Law - Texas Penal Code 28.03
There are a few different reasons you could be facing criminal mischief charges, under Texas criminal law. You may be in court to answer to criminal mischief charges if the prosecution has reason to believe you did any of the following:
- Intentionally or knowingly damaged someone else’s property
- Intentionally or knowingly tampered with someone else’s property causing loss or substantial inconvenience, or
- Intentionally making marks, graffiti, inscriptions, or drawings on the property of another.
There are several classifications of Criminal Mischief depending on the circumstances of the offense and the value of damage done to the property.
Some examples of Criminal Mischief may include things such as the following:
- Destroying or Defacing personal or public property:
- Spray painting walls, breaking windows, tearing down fences, breaking fixed structures, etc.
- Damaging an automobile
- Breaking windows, scratching paint, breaking headlamps, putting sugar in the gas tank, breaking windshield wipers, filling car with water, etc.
- Breaking windows or other fixtures in homes or businesses
- Damaging or destroying school property:
- Writing on desks, walls, lockers; plugging up sinks or toilets to cause overflow and flooding, destroying books or other school property just for “fun”, etc.
- Damaging or destroying homes
- Even destroying your own property can get you charged by your spouse….for example if you start pulling out fixtures, tearing down walls, spray painting furniture, destroying what you think is your “community property” you may find yourself charged with criminal mischief.
Criminal Mischief Penalties
- Class C Misdemeanor - if the damage or loss is valued at less than $50 or causes a substantial inconvenience to others. Punishable by up to a $500 fine.
- Class B Misdemeanor - if the damage or loss is valued at more than $50 but less than $500. Punishable by up to 180 days in jail and fines up to $2,000.
- Class A Misdemeanor - if the damage or loss is valued at more than $500 and less than $1,500; or if the criminal mischief act results in damage less than $1,500 the actor causes in whole or in part impairment or interruption of public communications, public transportation, public gas or power supply, or other public service, 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 communications or public gas or power supply, regardless of the pecuniary loss; Class A misdemeanors are punishable by up to 1 year in jail and fines of up to $4,000.
- State Jail Felony – if the damage or loss is between $1,500 to $20,000; or less than $1,500, if the property damaged or destroyed is a habitation and if the damage or destruction is caused by a firearm or explosive weapon; or (C) less than $1,500, if the property was a fence used for the production or containment of: (i) cattle, bison, horses, sheep, swine, goats, exotic livestock, or exotic poultry; or (ii) game animals as that term is defined by Section 63.001, Parks and Wildlife Code; Punishable by up to 180 days to 2 years in state jail and fines reaching up to $10,000.
- Third Degree Felony - if the damage done is $20,000 or more but less than $100,000; Punishable by 2 to 10 years in prison and fines of up to $10,000.
- Second Degree Felony - if the damage or loss is $100,000 or more but less than $200,000; Punishable by 2 to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $10,000.
- First Degree Felony - if the amount of pecuniary loss is $200,000 or more; Punishable by 5 to 99 years in prison and fines reaching $10,000.
Representation and Defense
If you are facing charges of Criminal Mischief it is very important to obtain an experienced and aggressive attorney who will review all aspects of your case. At Eyler Law Offices we will ensure your rights are protected and that you understand fully the details of your case. We will fight to make sure your rights are respected throughout the legal process. We will immediately begin our investigation in your case to ensure that law enforcement officials followed the law and did not abuse their authority at any time in their investigation. Throughout our investigation, we will interview pertinent witnesses and examine all evidence to help us decide the merits of the case. We review all evidence for any potential Constitutional law violations which could lead a suppression of it from the evidence.
In other words, we know how important it is to review all of the law and facts of an alleged misdemeanor or felony Criminal Mischief offense to gain a full understanding of every aspect of your case. We will make every attempt to keep you fully informed of what is happening with your case. We will be there to guide you through the criminal justice process.
Eyler Law Offices understand the high stakes in any Criminal Mischief case and because of that you can count on us to vigorously defend your rights to ensure that justice is served.
If you need an attorney in the Dallas/ Fort Worth metroplex, call Eyler Law Offices at 214-540-7750 or email us from our contact page to discuss your Criminal Mischief charges.