Criminal Mischief

Criminal mischief is a very common crime in New Jersey. Very typical of juveniles, criminal mischief involves the defacing or tampering of another’s property. While some may find it relatively harmless, some forms of criminal mischief can be very serious and convictions can lead to harsh consequences. If you a facing a criminal mischief charge it is recommended that you seek legal advice. LS&P Lawyers has an experienced team of criminal lawyers who represent people all over New Jersey.

Criminal mischief is defined as purposely damaging property of another, damaging property recklessly while using fire or explosives, or purposely tampering property with the intent of endangering a person or property. The charges for criminal mischief can range from a disorderly persons offense to a second degree crime depending on the circumstances, such as:

Second Degree Crime: Punishable by 5 to 10 years in prison and up to $100,000 in fines

  1. tampering with or destroying any device used to regulate air traffic at an airport which recklessly causes bodily injury or death
  2. tampering with or destroying any equipment involved in the carrying out of a public service which recklessly causes bodily injury or death

Third Degree Crime: Punishable by 3 to 5 years in prison and up to $15,000 in fines

  1. causing more than $2,000 in losses
  2. causing interruption or impairment of any public service such as communication, transportation, or supply of gas or water.
  3. damaging or defacing any property used by a research facility or causing disruption of the facility
  4. damaging or defacing any gravesite or human remains

Fourth Degree Crime: Punishable by 6 to 18 months in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.

  1. causing between $500 and $2,000 in damages
  2. damaging any device used to regulate air traffic at an airport
  3. tampering with any airport or landing strip
  4. breaking or digging up of pipes or mains used to supply gas or water to a building
  5. destroying any electric light wires or poles or any cable or television lines

Disorderly Persons Offense: Punishable by up to 6 months in jail and $1,000 in fines

  1. causing less than $500 worth of damage

If the defacing of the property involves graffiti, the defendant may be required to pay the owner of the defaced property the value of said property and perform no less than 20 days of community service if appropriate.

Any person convicted of criminal mischief which involves the destruction of rental premises by a tenant or former tenant in retaliation for eviction may also be required to pay the owner for the amount of damage caused.

A Union County NJ Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help!

If you have any questions regarding this statute please contact our offices. We are available 24/7 for free consultation and will meet all of your legal needs.