One of the more common non-violent and property related crimes handled by New York criminal defense lawyers is Criminal Mischief. Ranging from an “A” misdemeanor to a “B” felony, the punishment can be as “little” as up to one year in jail for violating New York Penal Law section. 145.00 to as much as twenty five years in state prison for violating New York Penal Law section 145.12.
Generally speaking, if you intentionally damage property without permission or authority or do so without any reasonable ground to believe you had such a right, then you have perpetrated Criminal Mischief. In some circumstances, even recklessly damaging property is criminal. The statutory basis for all Criminal Mischief crimes from New York City to Westchester County and beyond is the misdemeanor offense of Criminal Mischief in the Fourth Degree pursuant to New York Penal Law 145.00.
Criminal Mischief in the Fourth Degree: - New York Penal Law 145.00
You are guilty of Criminal Mischief in the Fourth Degree if (1) you intentionally damage another person’s property regardless of the amount of damage; or (2) you participate in the destruction of an abandoned building; or (3) you recklessly damage someone else’s property in an amount that exceeds $250.
As it is with the felony Criminal Mischief crimes, unless specified, the type of property is irrelevant, meaning, you could damage someone’s cell phone, television or clothing. It is the intent to do this damage without permission to do so.
NY Penal Law section 145.00 is an “A” misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail. First time offenders with verifiable local addresses may be issued a New York City Desk Appearance Ticket if they are arrested with this crime and it is not graffiti related.
Crimes Associated with Criminal Mischief in New York State
Because Criminal Mischief is a property crime, typical offenses that are charged with it are as follows:
In addition to these crimes, Criminal Mischief often “rears its head” in the domestic violence context.
Potential Defenses to Criminal Mischief in New York State
Although there is no such thing as a “one size fits all” defense to any crime in New York, experienced New York criminal defense attorneys know what to look for in any allegation. For example, did the complaint against you merely state there was “damage” or did the prosecution explain how the property was in fact damaged? Is there a facial insufficiency issue or a similar issue before the Grand Jury? What if the property was jointly owned? Can you still be convicted of Criminal Mischief? Even if you did not have permission to damage the property, did you have reasonable grounds to believe you did? If so, what establishes these grounds? These are merely a few of the issues and questions you should discuss with your New York criminal defense lawyers when analyzing your case and assessing the evidence.
Relevant Blog Entries: New York Graffiti Defense
For additional information on New York property crimes including Criminal Mischief, Making Graffiti, Burglary and others, please review the Crotty Saland PC website or the New York Criminal Lawyer Blog. The New York Criminal Lawyer Blog contains criminal statutes, legal decisions and newsworthy cases.
- “Related Matters,” Right to Counsel & Making Graffiti
- Defining “Instruments” in a New York Graffiti Arrest
- Making Graffiti without an Intent to Damage: Viability of Charges
- The Vandal Squad & Remaining Silent: Two Case Examples
Founded by two New York criminal defense attorneys who served as prosecutors in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, Crotty Saland PC represents the accused throughout New York City and the area.
Call us at (212) 312-7129 or contact us online today.