You are probably aware of the term “vandalism” but “criminal mischief” might understandably not seem familiar. Under Florida definitions of criminal violations, criminal mischief is essentially vandalism, and vice versa. The criminal statute broadly defines criminal mischief as any behavior that intentionally and maliciously destroys the personal or real property of another party. Due to its commonality, graffiti is often associated with criminal mischief charges, as even spraying paint onto property can be construed as enough to “destroy” it.
Misdemeanor Criminal Mischief Charges
When criminal mischief destroys property valued at $200 or less, or if it causes less than $200 worth of total damage, it will be charged as a second degree misdemeanor in Florida. The charge can be escalated to a first degree misdemeanor if the damage is greater than $200 but does not exceed $1,000. For misdemeanor charges, you can be incarcerated for up to one year and will likely be fined between $500 and $1,000. Additionally, you may be ordered to repay the property owner for the value of the destroyed property through restitutions.
Felony Criminal Mischief Charges
A criminal mischief misdemeanor charge can escalate to a felony if:
- The property destroyed is valued at more than $1,000.
- Total damage caused to all property considered in the criminal case is valued at $1,000 or more.
- You have prior convictions for similar criminal violations, or a multitude of any previous convictions.
- At least $200 worth of damage is done to a religious structure or item.
- At least $200 worth of damage is done to a detention facility.
- Damage is done to property related to public utilities.
As with any felony charge compared to any misdemeanor charge, the potential penalties for felony criminal mischief will be steep. You can be imprisoned for more than a year, fined thousands of dollars, forced to pay restitutions, ordered to complete days’ worth of community service, and much more.
To protect yourself from the consequences of a criminal mischief charge, come to the Law Office of Michael Mirer, P.A. and speak with our Miami criminal defense attorney. As a former prosecutor, Attorney Michael Mirer has unique insight into how the opposition thinks and operates when handling a criminal mischief case. Use his background and experience to your advantage by contacting our firm at (800) 798-0243 today.