Switch to ADA Accessible Theme
Close Menu
Miami Bankruptcy & Criminal Attorney / Blog / Criminal Defense / Understanding a Criminal Mischief Charge

Understanding a Criminal Mischief Charge

Criminal mischief laws make it a crime to cause willful and malicious damage to property. A criminal mischief charge in Florida is serious, possibly even rising to a felony level and imprisonment in some instances. If you are facing criminal mischief charges, it is vital to secure the services of a capable attorney, who can present a comprehensive and aggressive defense.

Channel WFLA recently reported about a 16-year-old who was arrested for damaging a police car belonging to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. According to reports, the car was unmarked and parked within a neighborhood subdivision. Sheriffs were responding to complaints about a house party that had gotten out of control. As the deputies attempted to calm the partygoers, the suspect allegedly climbed on top of the police car and repeatedly jumped on the roof. The back window reportedly shattered under his weight and the car sustained damage in excess of $1,000. The teenager was charged with felony criminal mischief.

News outlets are currently reporting about another criminal mischief case, where a Florida resident was arrested for several vending machine crimes. The incidents, which date back more than three years, occurred in two separate counties and caused an estimated $19,000 in damages. According to reports, the suspect was arrested and charged with two counts of felony criminal mischief. He is also facing grand theft charges in relation to $1000 that was also reportedly stolen from the vending machines.

What is Criminal Mischief?

The Florida statute defines criminal mischief as follows:

  • The willful and malicious damaging or injury to another’s real or personal property, including the placement of graffiti
    • Damage valued at less than $200 is a second degree misdemeanor
    • Damage valued between $200 and $1,000 is a first degree misdemeanor
    • Damage valued over $1,000 is a felony in the third degree
  • The willful and malicious injury, damaging or defacing of a place of worship
    • Regardless of the damage amount, this crime is classified as a third degree felony
  • The willful destruction of a public telephone or telephone cables, when adequate warning is posted
    • Damage valued over $200 is a third degree felony
  • The willful and malicious defacement of a detention center for sexually violent predators
    • Damage valued over $200 is a third degree felony

In addition to the above referenced classifications, a criminal mischief charge may be upgraded to a felony if the accused has prior convictions. The penalties for a criminal mischief conviction vary depending on the crime classification and the value of the property damaged. A misdemeanor conviction can result in up to a year in jail, while a third degree felony conviction is punishable by up to five years of incarceration. In addition to any jail time and fees, the court may also require a defendant convicted under this statute to pay for the damages caused.

If you are facing criminal mischief charges within the state of Florida, contact Julia Kefalinos today for immediate assistance with your case. Attorney Kefalinos has significant experience representing clients in Miami, and can provide you with a quality defense in your case.

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn