Felony Criminal Mischief

The misdemeanor crime of Criminal Mischief is committed when you merely intentionally etch your name into a mailbox or break a light bulb in the hallway of an apartment building. In other words, if you intentionally damage property of another without authority, no matter how insignificant, you are guilty of a crime. The felony offenses relating to Criminal Mischief in New York, however, are significantly more serious than the misdemeanor of Fourth Degree Criminal Mischief, New York Penal Law 145.00.

Although New York criminal lawyers experienced in Criminal Mischief crimes cannot just make allegations disappear with a snap of the fingers, those same attorneys should have the ability to navigate the criminal justice system, explain the law to you and establish a viable defense after examining the evidence, or lack of evidence, in your criminal case. Armed with knowledge and the right counsel, what may have initially seemed as insurmountable to you, may soon give way to a far brighter end.

Third Degree Criminal Mischief: Understanding NY Penal Law 145.05

While Criminal Mischief in the Third Degree allows prosecutors to "bump up" the Fourth Degree offense to a Third Degree crime in certain circumstances, the important provision of this section relates to the damage you are alleged to have intentionally caused to the property of another person without permission. It is irrelevant what that property is – a car, painting, cell phone – and how it occurred – smashing that cell phone on the ground, poking a hole in the painting’s canvas, or “keying” the passenger side vehicle door.

Pursuant to New York Penal Law 145.05(2), Third Degree Criminal Mischief, if you intentionally damage property of another as described above and the damage exceeds $250, but is no greater than $1,500, then you are guilty of this crime.

NY Penal Law section 145.05 is an "E" felony punishable by up to four years in state prison, but a judge can sentence you to as little (or as long) as one year “city time” on Rikers Island if you are prosecuted in New York City or “county time” if your offense occurred in one of the Hudson Valley’s numerous counties including Westchester, Dutchess, Putnam and Rockland. Fortunately, assuming you are not a predicate felon, mandatory incarceration is not required and your criminal lawyer may be able to secure a non-jail sentence for you if your defenses to the substantive crime are unsuccessful or unavailable.

Second Degree Criminal Mischief: Understanding NY Penal Law 145.10

Like the two lower level offenses, the language of Criminal Mischief in the Second Degree is the same. That is, if you damage the property of another without permission or authority, you are guilty of New York Penal Law 145.10. If that damage exceeds $1,500 in value, you are guilty of this offense as long as the District Attorney can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you did so intentionally.

NY Penal Law 145.10 is a class "D" felony. The penalty for Second Degree Criminal Mischief is greater than the lesser offenses and carries along with it potential imprisonment for up to seven years in a New York State prison. Whether you were arrested in NYC’s boroughs of Manhattan, Brooklyn or Queens, or your case stems from Nyack, New Rochelle, Beacon or Brewster in the lower Hudson Valley, any incarceration in prison, as opposed to jail, can land you “upstate.”

First Degree Criminal Mischief: Understanding NY PL Penal Law 145.12

Criminal Mischief in the First Degree is the most serious offense, but a degree of Criminal Mischief that is rarely charged. The value of the damage is not relevant to New York Penal Law 145.12, but instead the method or manner by which you cause this damage. Simply, if you use an explosive to damage someone's property, the police would charge and the District Attorney prosecute you with First Degree Criminal Mischief. What makes this offense overwhelmingly frightening is that NY Penal Law 145.15 is a class "B" felony punishable by up to twenty five years in prison and a mandatory minimum prison sentence as well.

Regardless of the degree of Criminal Mischief you find yourself facing and irrespective of the District Attorney’s Office leading the way against you, every misdemeanor and felony arrest involving these crimes is a victim offense when all is said and done. Whether that victim is a former friend, ex-spouse, an unknow building owner or the tax payers of the City or State of New York, do not ignore the fact that no crime in New York will ever be expunged and even if you are not incarcerated on a felony, such a blemish will upend your life, career, legal status in the United States, professional certifications and so much more.

When facing felony Criminal Mischief charges there is no substitute for experience, knowledge and advocacy. The New York criminal lawyers and former Manhattan prosecutors at Crotty Saland PC are ready to identify and implement not merely the best defense, but the best defense you need.

Call us at (212) 312-7129 or contact us online today.

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