In Florida, the terms vandalism and criminal mischief are used interchangeably – this will be important to know as we discuss more details in this blog.
Criminal Defense Lawyer Defines Vandalism
The Florida senate defines vandalism as:
Willful and malicious injury or damage by any means to any real or personal property belonging to another, including, but not limited to, the placement of graffiti thereon or other acts of vandalism thereto.
Examples of Vandalism
To build on the definition, we’ve listed some examples of vandalism below:
- Spray painting a car, house, train car, etc.
- Slashing tires or smashing windows
- Smashing or covering street signs
- Keying someone’s car
- Cutting electrical wires
- Graffiti to public property
- Cutting trees – without proper permission
- Intentionally flooding a house by purposefully running water and clogging drains
- Egging property
All criminal mischief charges have one thing in common. The damaging act is done willfully with intent to deface property belonging to another individual or group.
Punishments for Violation of Vandalism Laws
Criminal mischief laws are in place to help prevent property damage that could carry heavy repair/replacement costs.
Criminal mischief could be a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the extent of the damage or type of harm suffered by the victim. If the law is violated, possible consequences include convictions, jail or prison time, probation and/or fines. Below is a basic list of how these charges are often broken down.
- Less than $200 :: Misdemeanor of 2nd degree
- More than $200 but less than $1,000 :: Misdemeanor of 1st degree
- More than $1,000 or if damage disrupts business operations, communication, transportation, supply chains, etc :: Felony of the 3rd degree
The charges listed above can vary depending on the type of vandalism, location, age of offender, and other factors.
It’s important to note that vandalism is considered a non-violent crime but can be paired with other crimes that are violent. For example, if the criminal mischief acts are taking place at someone’s house, the intruder could be charged with trespassing, burglary, or disturbing the peace on top of their vandalism charges. These additional charges could exacerbate the criminal sentence one faces in court.
Criminal Defense Lawyer for Vandalism Charges
Even if a lawyer cannot get charges completely dismissed, there are other options that could reduce penalties. It’s recommended to work with an expert when facing criminal charges to discuss options before a court hearing. Contact our experts about any criminal charges at any time using our website, https://dalecarsonlaw.com/.