New Jersey Criminal Lawyers Define and Discuss Vandalism and Criminal Mischief in New Jersey
Criminal mischief” might sound like a minor offense with no strong repercussions, but the truth is that there is much more to it than this. As its name implies, criminal mischief is a criminal offense. It is defined as the act of purposefully or knowingly damaging another party’s property. It can be charged as a disorderly persons offense, a fourth degree crime, or a third degree crime, depending on the details of the incident. Cherry Hill criminal lawyers caution those who have had such offenses in the past, as they do show up on one’s record.
Like all other criminal charges, you can fight a criminal mischief charge by working with an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Do not assume that having a criminal mischief charge on your record cannot affect your future – it certainly can. Invest in your future by working with a lawyer to have your charge downgraded or dismissed.
Severe Penalties for NJ Criminal Mischief Charges
A criminal mischief offense is charged according to the value of the property damaged and certain other specific details of the offense. For an incident to be charged as a third degree crime, at least one of the following must be applicable:
- More than $2,000 worth of property was damaged;
- The property was research equipment that belonged to a facility;
- A grave site was damaged because of the mischief; or
- The mischief interrupted public transportation or utility services.
An individual convicted of a third degree criminal mischief charge can face three to five years in prison. For an offense to be charged as a fourth degree crime, either of the following must apply:
- The mischief caused between $500 and $2,000 worth of damage; or
- Gas lines, cable lines, or telecommunication lines were dug up as part of the mischief.
For this type of conviction, an individual can face up to 18 months in prison. For the lowest applicable charge, a disorderly persons offense, to apply to a case of criminal mischief, the damage must have totaled less that $500 and none of the above circumstances may apply. Often, graffiti falls into this category. The penalties for this type of conviction are fines, restitution, and community service.
New Jersey Criminal Lawyers at The Law Offices of Michele Finizio Defend Individuals Charged with Criminal Mischief in Camden, NJ
If you are facing any type of criminal mischief charge, consider fighting it with an experienced team of New Jersey criminal defense lawyers. Fill out our online form or call 609-230-0374 to schedule your initial legal consultation with the Law Offices of Michele Finizio in our Moorestown, New Jersey office. Be proactive and make the call today. Our firm works with clients from Burlington County, Camden County, Gloucester County, and Salem County.