Protecting Your Future When You’ve Been Charged With A Property Crime
The act of damaging property that belongs to another person is known in the New York State Penal Law as “criminal mischief.” If you find yourself under arrest for criminal mischief, a skilled criminal defense lawyer at Konta, Georges & Buza, P.C. can help.
Our team of accomplished lawyers has extensive experience with a variety of property crime charges, including vandalism and other degrees of criminal mischief. They have successfully represented thousands of clients throughout the five boroughs of New York City. Whether you need a strong advocate in or out of court, they are ready to aggressively defend your interests.
Call us today at 212-710-5166 to arrange a free consultation with an attorney at our firm.
Degrees Of Criminal Mischief
The degree of criminal mischief that a person commits depends on several factors. The most important factor is the cost to repair the damage. For example, if a person intentionally destroys someone’s computer and the damage is worth $200, then they are guilty of criminal mischief in the fourth degree. However, if it is worth $300, then they committed criminal mischief in the third degree.
The most basic form of criminal mischief is criminal mischief in the fourth degree, which is a class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail. A person commits criminal mischief in the fourth degree in one of four ways:
- When he or she intentionally damages the property of another person
- When a person intentionally participated in the destruction of an “abandoned building”
- When a person recklessly causes damage to property in excess of $250
- When a person intentionally disables communications equipment that another person is trying to use to contact emergency services. An example of this occurs when a criminal takes a victim’s cell phone and breaks it so she or he can’t call 911
In all examples of criminal mischief, there is a legal requirement that the person did not have the right to destroy the property and did not have reasonable grounds to conclude that they had such a right.
Other degrees of criminal mischief involve situations such as the following:
- If the person intentionally damages the property that belongs to another person and the value of the property damage is in excess of $250, then the person is guilty of criminal mischief in the third degree. This is a class E felony, which is punishable by up to four years in jail.
- If the value of the property is in excess of $1,500, then the person is guilty of criminal mischief in the second degree. This is a class D felony, which is punishable by up to seven years in jail.
- If the person uses an explosive to damage the property, then he or she is guilty of criminal mischief in the first degree. This is a class B felony, which is punishable by up to 25 years in jail.
What You Need To Know About Graffiti Laws
With regard to anti-graffiti laws, it should come as no surprise that it is a crime to make “graffiti” in New York. In addition to anti-graffiti laws, it is also a crime to possess a “graffiti instrument.” The problem is that the graffiti statute is written rather vaguely. This means that many innocent people find themselves charged with this crime.
Pursuant to New York State Penal Law Section 145.60, it is a class A misdemeanor when a person etches, paints, covers, draws upon or otherwise places a mark on public or private property with the intent to damage the property. A person convicted of this crime may be sentenced to up to one year in jail if convicted of this crime.
Concerned About A Criminal Mischief Or Graffiti Charge? Contact Us
There are many defenses for both criminal mischief and graffiti crimes. Our experienced attorneys can identify the best approach according to your circumstances. Contact our firm online or by phone at 212-710-5166 today to schedule a free consultation.