Criminal mischief charges, or vandalism to a layperson, can hold severe consequences in Florida, depending on the level and value of damage inflicted and the target in question. However, with representation by the correct criminal defense lawyers, being charged does not necessarily guarantee a conviction.
At The Law Place in Fort Myers, we have assembled a team of criminal defense lawyers with over 75 years of experience between them in fighting criminal charges like these. Our attorneys are skilled and ready to defend you.
If you or somebody you love are up against a criminal mischief charge, it is highly advisable that you utilize a lawyer well-versed in criminal defense to minimize the consequential impact on your life. Here at The Law Place, we are happy to offer a free consultation over the telephone, any time of the day or night. All our consultations are at no-obligation, and you remain protected by the attorney-client relationship from the outset.
Get in touch with our criminal defense lawyers today on (941) 444-4444.
What Do Criminal Mischief Charges Mean in Fort Myers?
Criminal mischief in Fort Myers is also known by the more commonly recognizable term vandalism.
The definition of criminal mischief, as set out in Florida Statute 806.13, is the malicious and willful destruction of property that belongs to another person.
This covers a large range of damage causes, and under applicable case law, it will include any act including defacement, graffiti, vandalism, breakage, sabotage, and any other act of intentional destruction.
If you have been involved in a case of alleged criminal mischief, it is important to seek experienced legal counsel to minimize the consequences and potential impact on your life. Our team of criminal defense lawyers has over 75 years of experience between them, including a wealth of specific experience relevant to your criminal mischief case.
How Are Criminal Mischief Charges Proven in Fort Myers?
There are three main elements that the prosecution in criminal mischief cases must establish beyond any level of reasonable doubt.
These three elements are as follows:
- The defendant in question damaged or injured real or personal property.
- The property that was damaged or injured by the defendant in question did, in fact, belong to the alleged victim.
- The damage or injury done to the property was done in a way that was both willful and malicious.
It was is worth interrogating the phrases “willfully” and “maliciously” in terms of what will count towards potential criminal charges.
In this context, “wilfully” means the property was damaged intentionally and knowingly, on purpose.
“Maliciously,” in this context, means that the property was damaged in an intentionally wrongful way, without any legal justification or reasonable excuse. It also means that the defendant had knowledge that their actions would cause damage to the property belonging to another.
Due to the ways in which these three elements can be interpreted, it is possible to have your criminal mischief case dismissed or have the consequences minimized through the presentation of mitigating circumstances by a high-quality criminal lawyer. The Law Place has a team of experienced criminal defense lawyers with the knowledge and experience to handle your specific case in the best manner possible.
What Are the Penalties for Criminal Mischief Charges in Fort Myers?
The consequences you can expect from criminal mischief charges in Fort Myers will vary depending on how much damage was caused to the property.
- In instances where the property damage is of a value less than $200, the offense will be classed as a second-degree misdemeanor, which is punishable with a sentence of up to 60 days in jail. There will also be the possibility of up to $500 in fines.
- However, if the property damage ranges between $200 and $999, then the offense becomes a first-degree misdemeanor. This is punishable by a sentence of up to one year in jail. There will also be the possibility of up to $1,000 in fines.
- In the case of property damage exceeding $1,000, the offense will be classed as a third-degree felony. This is punishable by a sentence of up to five years imprisonment. You may be fined up to $5,000 for this kind of offense.
As you can see, the consequences of criminal mischief charges in Fort Myers can be severe. Five years is a long period of your life to spend imprisoned for damage to someone’s property. This is why, if you are facing these charges, it is so important to seek representation by a knowledgeable and experienced criminal defense lawyer.
Here at The Law Place, our team of criminal defense lawyers has racked up over 75 years of experience defending people in Fort Myers criminal cases, including many cases of criminal mischief. Our criminal defense lawyers have personally secured both the dismissal of charges and the minimization of consequences, depending on the specifics of the case. For more information on how we can help you, call our office today for a free consultation.
What Other Factors May Complicate My Criminal Mischief Charge?
There are a number of other things outside of the value of the damaged property which can impact the overall severity of your criminal mischief case.
The following instances of criminal mischief or vandalism will result in you being charged with a third-degree felony:
- The damage you allegedly caused resulted in the impairment or interruption of a public service or business operation, which resulted in over a $1,000 cost in supplies and labor to rectify.
- The damages caused were worth over $200 and were targeted at a church or some other place of worship. This charge can also be argued if there were one or more religious articles inside the targeted building.
- The damage was targeted against a sexually violent predator detention facility or commitment facility.
- The target of the damage was a public payphone, which was then rendered inoperable and displayed a clear public warning against such offenses.
Along with the criminal charges and the fines associated with criminal mischief property damage, you will also be liable for the cost of restoring all of the damaged property to its original working condition.
To stand the best chance of minimizing the consequences for your criminal mischief case, contact The Law Place today for representation by a team of experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense lawyers.
Additional Graffiti Laws Which Apply to Criminal Mischief Cases in Fort Myers, FL.
Graffiti has been singled out among other criminal mischief examples for additional penalties.
As well as all of the other penalties listed above, you will also be required to perform community service if you have been engaged in criminal mischief, which involved creating graffiti.
You will be required to perform 40 hours of community service at least and also, depending on your case, undertake an additional 100 hours dedicated to the removal of other graffiti. There are also additional fines of up $250 for your first conviction, $500 for your second, and $1000 for your third conviction and any thereafter.
As you can see, graffiti criminal mischief charges have the potential for considerable financial damage and to eat into your personal time. For the best chance of achieving a more lenient sentence or case dismissal, get in touch with our criminal defense lawyers at The Law Place today.
How Do Graffiti Laws Apply to Minors in Fort Myers?
The rules are slightly different in the case of a minor committing criminal mischief through graffiti.
In these cases, it will be the parent/guardian who is liable to pay the fine for the graffiti.
If the minor in question held or is eligible for a driver’s license, this license will become either suspended or unable to be issued for one year. However, this time frame may be reduced through community service.
What Are Some Possible Defenses for Criminal Mischief in Fort Myers?
There are a number of different defenses that your criminal defense lawyer could use in order to contest the charges against you.
- Questioning whether the damage actually resulted from the conduct of the defendant.
- Whether or not the property that was damaged was jointly owned by both the alleged victim and the defendant being accused.
- Questioning whether the damage caused to the property was actually willful. Your criminal defense lawyer could instead prove that it happened during a mutual altercation.
- Proving that the damage caused to the property of the alleged victim was, in fact, accidental.
- Questioning whether it was the conduct of the alleged victim that actually caused the property to be damaged.
- There may have been some kind of legal justification for the conduct of the defendant.
- There may be other extenuating circumstances that could excuse the conduct of the defendant.
- The defendant may have been forced to damage property in order to defend or protect themselves or others.
- Questioning whether the act of the defendant was technically “wrongful.”
The specifics of the defense put forward by your lawyer will change on a case by case basis, as one situation is never the same as another. Our team of experienced criminal defense lawyers will look at the circumstances surrounding your criminal charges and figure out the best approach to minimizing their consequences or getting them dismissed.
Contact The Law Place Today
Depending on what level of property damage you are accused of having committed, you could be looking at sets of serious fines and jail time. As such, you deserve to receive the best defense possible to have the maximum chance of avoiding too much damage to your life.
Here at The Law Place, our team of criminal defense lawyers has experience in getting a criminal charge against those who have allegedly committed criminal mischief dropped. In the cases where this has not been possible, we have often been able to achieve a more lenient sentence for the client supported by our lawyer.
If you are looking for a reputable and trustworthy criminal defense, look no further than The Law Place in Fort Myers, Florida. We will become your advocate and have a proven track record of providing a legal defense that has changed the outcome of a case and, by extension, the life of our client.
We offer every prospective client with The Law Place a free telephone consultation in order to establish the specifics of their situation and to alleviate their anxiety by preparing them with exactly what to expect from their legal process. Our telephone consultations are also under the strict confidentiality of the attorney-client relationship, and you will be under no obligation to use our services if you are unsatisfied with what you hear. If you would like more information or free legal advice, contact our office today. We keep our lines open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Contact The Law Place by calling (941) 444-4444 today.