Criminal mischief is a crime that heavily affects both the victim and the perpetrator. In the state of Texas, criminal mischief takes place when an individual is guilty of intentionally damaging another individual’s property. While it can be as “simple” as a misdemeanor charge, it can also be classified as a felony charge depending on the severity of the crime. Many individuals look at criminal mischief as a minor property crime that does not hold very many consequences, but this could not be farther from the truth.
In the state of Texas, criminal mischief is taken extremely seriously by prosecuting attorneys, investigators, and judges. Property damage is seen as a sign of disrespect, and many prosecuting attorneys use this crime to paint the defendant in a harsh light. If you have been charged with this crime, you may be accused of being a dangerous, violent, and uncaring individual who may pose a threat to societies around the world.
Criminal Mischief Defense Lawyer in Fort Worth, Arlington, Grapevine, Keller, and Southlake, TX
Criminal mischief is a charge that is not uncommon. Many people deal with these charges, but not all of them face conviction. Depending on the circumstance, you may be able to dismiss or reduce your charge, but this all starts with hiring the right criminal defense attorney for your unique case. From the moment you are charged, investigators and prosecutors will start collecting evidence in an attempt to put you behind bars. Because of this, it is your duty to hire a lawyer as quickly as possible so you can start building your defense.
Serving Fort Worth, McKinney, Plano, Denton, Frisco, Garland, and the surrounding areas of Tarrant County, the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy provide criminal defense to clients in need of an attorney. If you are attempting to beat or dismiss your charges, you will most definitely need a lawyer on your side to help you understand your charges and what steps you will need to take to retain your freedom. If you are ready to begin your defense, contact our law office at (817) 422-5350 to schedule your free consultation. Our team is ready to provide you with the representation you will need to defend your rights and honor in a court of law.
Definition of Criminal Mischief
Section 28.03 of the Texas Penal Code states that criminal mischief charges can occur if there is any reason to believe that an individual has performed any of the following actions:
- Intentionally making inscriptions, marks, graffiti, drawings, slogans, or painting on a piece of tangible property that belongs to another individual
- Intentionally damaging or destroying any piece of tangible property that belongs to another owner
- Intentionally tampering with a piece of tangible property that belongs to another owner, and causing pecuniary loss or substantial inconvenience to the owner
Examples of Criminal Mischief
Criminal mischief can be interpreted as a very vague term. Because of this, we feel as though it may be helpful to give you, the reader, some examples of what classifies as criminal mischief in the state of Texas.
Damaging a place of residence is one of the more obvious instances of criminal mischief. If an individual is found painting graffiti on the outside of a house, intentionally damaging a fence, breaking glass windows, causing intentional malfunction of a garage door panel, or damaging another aspect of a home, it can be classified as criminal mischief and result in criminal charges being filed against the perpetrator.
Damaging school property is another form of criminal mischief. The city owns the textbooks, lockers, desks, and fixtures that are used in public schools. Because of this, individuals who are found intentionally damaging toilets, sinks, water fountains, textbooks, computers, or gym equipment can formally be charged with criminal mischief. You may see these as harmless pranks that occur regularly amongst children, but depending on the severity of the damage, young students can find themselves in serious legal trouble as a result of this.
Penalties for Criminal Mischief
The Texas Penal Code outlines the different classifications of criminal mischief and their accompanying penalties.
For starters, individuals can be charged with Class C misdemeanor criminal mischief if they are found damaging a property that results in the pecuniary loss of $50 or less to the owner. This offense is typically not punishable with jail time, but the offender may have to pay fines of up to $500 if they are found guilty of this charge. If the pecuniary loss is greater than $50 but less than $500, the offender may end up spending up to 180 days in jail while paying a fine that is up to $2,000. Lastly, an individual can be charged with Class A misdemeanor criminal mischief if they are found causing between $500 and $1,500 in the pecuniary loss while interrupting a public service, such as transportation, gas, or water. If this crime leads to a conviction, the offender can expect to serve a jail sentence of up to 1 year while being subject to a fine that could be as expensive as $4,000.
State jail felony-level criminal mischief takes place when an individual causes pecuniary loss between $1,500 and $20,000, inflicts less than $1,500 of property damage via firearm or explosive weapon or causes $1,500 worth of damage to a fence that was used for the containment of game animals, bison, exotic livestock, poultry, cattle, or horses. If convicted of this crime, individuals could spend up to 2 years in prison and pay fines that could be as expensive as $10,000.
Third-degree felony criminal mischief occurs when an individual causes between $20,000 and $100,000 of pecuniary loss or uses a weapon to cause the death of a horse, bison, or cattle. This crime carries a possible punishment of up to 10 years in prison in addition to a possible fine of up to $10,000. This crime can be upgraded to a second-degree felony if the pecuniary loss is between $100,000 and $200,000; if this happens, the individual’s maximum prison sentence will increase to 20 years. If the pecuniary loss exceeds $200,000, the individual’s charges will be upgraded to first-degree felony criminal mischief, punishable by life imprisonment and a possible fine of up to $10,000.
Additional Resources for Criminal Mischief in Fort Worth, TX
Tarrant County Crime Statistics – This link takes you to the official website of Tarrant County, Texas. On this webpage, you can find out more information about Tarrant County’s crime statistics over the past few years, collected from and curated by the Crime Records Division of the Texas Department of Public Safety. You can also learn more about Tarrant County’s criminal justice plan, truancy solutions, and the county’s jail use study.
GAP: Graffiti Abatement Program – The Tarrant County Graffiti Abatement Program provides local residents with graffiti removal. The Fort Worth Police Department is concerned about graffiti tagging and its ability to lower property value while also encouraging crime in neighborhoods. This program allows citizens to thoroughly remove graffiti from their homes (free of charge) without having to pay a professional cleaner.
Find A Tarrant County Defense Attorney for Criminal Mischief | Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy
Criminal mischief cannot be taken lightly. If you have been charged with this crime, you need to be aware of the potential penalties and punishments you may endure if you are convicted. On the other hand, you need to remain aware of the fact that not every criminal mischief charge has to result in a criminal conviction. If you have a defense and the right criminal defense lawyer on your side, you may be able to reduce or dismiss your charges.
The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy provide elite legal counsel services to individuals in Tarrant, Denton, Collin, Parker, Dallas, and many other surrounding counties and communities of Fort Worth, Texas. With years of experience helping Texans overcome their criminal charges in a timely fashion, we are confident in our ability to help you. Our clients are our number one priority, and we are committed to doing what it takes to bring a favorable outcome that retains your freedom and rights. For more information on how we can be of assistance to your unique case, contact us at (817) 422-5350 to schedule a consultation with a member of our team.