Criminal mischief covers crimes of property destruction in New Jersey. When someone is charged with defacing or destroying property, they might face legal fines, criminal charges, jail time, and a permanent record. It is important to understand what criminal mischief charges include and the potential consequences for each type of criminal charge.
Types of Criminal Mischief
Criminal mischief includes criminal acts of property damage. This includes:
- Property vandalism
- Destruction of a property
- Tampering with another person’s property
- Endangering a person with property damage
This might include knocking down someone’s mailbox, breaking someone’s laptop or phone, drawing graffiti on a property, or even keying someone’s vehicle. Criminal mischief includes any and all intentional destruction of items, as well as tampering with property in a way that is dangerous to the public.
Determining Criminal Mischief Consequences
The potential consequences of criminal mischief in New Jersey vary, depending on the value of the damage and the criminal record of the defendant. In New Jersey, all crimes are divided into either an indictable crime or a disorderly persons offense.
- Indictable crime: An indictable crime is a charge that is comparable to a felony charge in another state. Indictable crimes face potential consequences that tend to be more severe.
- Disorderly persons offense: A disorderly persons offense is comparable to a misdemeanor charge in another state. These offenses carry potential consequences of up to six months in jail.
Disorderly persons offenses and criminal mischief are further divided into categories based on the value of the damage.
Degrees of Criminal Mischief in New Jersey
The level of degree of criminal mischief in the state of New Jersey will dictate the expected jail time and legal fines.
- Fourth-degree criminal mischief includes property damage that is valued anywhere between $500- $2,000. The destruction of helipads or public utilities is also included with fourth-degree criminal mischief. Fourth-degree criminal mischief charges could lead up to 18 months of jail time and fines of up to $10,000.
- Third-degree criminal mischief includes property damage that is valued over $2,000. This will also include any damage to research facilities or the interruption of utilities from the damage. Third degree criminal charges could result in between three-five years of jail time and fines of up to $15,000.
Other factors can affect the legal outcome of criminal mischief charges including the age of the defendant and whether or not they have a criminal record. Individuals who are 18 years or younger, and considered a juvenile in New Jersey, might have alternative options available in lieu of jail time or expensive fines.
Working With a Criminal Defense Lawyer in New Jersey
When you are facing criminal mischief legal charges, regardless of the type, it is important to protect your future and work with an experienced lawyer. A criminal defense lawyer can help you negotiate your legal charges and prevent a one-time legal mistake from ruining the rest of your life. Criminal charges can affect your future, especially if you are a juvenile. Depending on the details of the crime and charges, there may be alternative options available like probation or community service.
Contact an Experienced Pemberton Criminal Defense Lawyer About Your Criminal Mischief Charges in New Jersey
Were you arrested or charged with criminal mischief in New Jersey? The consequences of a conviction could be severe, leaving you with a permanent criminal record and possibly even sending you to jail. That is why you need to speak with a qualified criminal law attorney as soon as possible about your case. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Michele Finizio have successfully represented clients charged with criminal mischief in Evesham Township, Mount Laurel, Willingboro, Pemberton, and throughout New Jersey. Call (609) 230-0374 or fill out the online contact form to schedule a consultation with a member of our legal team. We have an office conveniently located at 9 E. Main St, Moorestown, NJ 08057, as well as an office located in Cherry Hill.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.
Disorderly conduct consists of any improper behavior such as fighting, threats of violence, or creating a dangerous atmosphere.