Criminal Mischief Defense
Houston Criminal Mischief Lawyers :: The Law Office of Matthew D. Sharp
Many people think that “Criminal Mischief” is nothing more than “tagging” or painting graffiti on someone’s wall. However, conviction on criminal mischief charges can carry a substantial criminal penalty.
What is Criminal Mischief?
Under the Texas Penal Code, Section 28.03, you have committed “Criminal Mischief” if you have intentionally and knowingly, and without the consent of a property owner, performed any of the following acts:
- Damaged or destroyed the tangible (real) property of the owner
- Tampered with the tangible property of the owner and caused financial loss or substantial inconvenience to the owner or a third party
- Made markings, including inscriptions, slogans, drawings or paintings on the tangible property of the owner
Penalties for a Criminal Mischief Conviction
Upon conviction, and depending on the dollar amount of damages caused, you could be sentenced as follows:
- Damages under $50 can be punished as a Class C misdemeanor (a fine of up to $500)
- Damages of at least $50 but less then $500 can be punished as a Class B misdemeanor (up to 180 days in jail, a fine of up to $2,000, or a combination of both fine and jail)
- Damages of at least $500 but less than $1,500 can be punished as a Class A misdemeanor. However, any damages to to public utilities, public transportation, or communications services are treated as Class A misdemeanors (up to 1 year an jail, a fine of up to $4,000, or some combination of jail and a fine).
For damages in excess of $1,500, and depending on the degree of damage to a residence, a farm or to a public utility, criminal mischief convictions are punishable as felonies and can, in extreme cases, carry prison terms of more than 20 years and fines of $10,000.
From the above, you can see that criminal mischief charges can carry very heavy penalties. Plus, when you consider that potential costs to you or your family of having a conviction on your criminal record, you can easily see why a criminal mischief conviction is something that you want to avoid. In the Houston area, if you have been charged with criminal mischief, you should contact the Houston criminal defense firm The Law Office of Matthew D. Sharp.
Contact The Law Office of Matthew D. Sharp Today
The criminal defense lawyers of The Law Office of Matthew D. Sharp will bring years of experience handling criminal mischief cases to your side and will provide the most aggressive defense possible for your case.