As stated in Florida Statute 806.13, a criminal mischief crime is when a person willingly and maliciously damages or injures by any means, any real or personal property. A criminal mischief crime is more commonly known as vandalism. Penalties for committing criminal mischief vary greatly depending on the type of property involved, the extent of damage and injury, and the prior criminal history of the perpetrator.
If you are facing accusations of criminal mischief in North Port, then we strongly advise that you contact our law firm today. At The Law Place, we have a team of knowledgeable criminal defense attorneys who have a plethora of experience in dealing with legal cases like yours. Our North Port phone lines are open around the clock, so we can be there to offer legal advice whenever you need it. Contact us today at (941) 444-4444 and receive a free consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Examples of Common Types of Criminal Mischief Crimes in North Port
In the State of Florida, there are a number of acts and crimes that are considered to be a criminal mischief offense. Some of the most common are:
- Grafitti on any type of buildings, vehicles, and other property.
- Tampering with a fire hydrant.
- Damaging or destroying public signage.
- Damaging or obstructing property with foreign objects.
- Infecting someone’s computer with a virus.
- Tampering with a fire alarm, emergency exit, or emergency exit sign.
Grafitti is the most common type of criminal offense committed in Florida. Over recent years officers have attempted to crack down on the number of graffiti offenses by issuing additional fines. For a first offense, the court will issue a fine of at least $250, a second offense will incur a charge of $500 minimum, and any subsequent offenses will receive a minimum fine of $1000. In addition, depending on the circumstances surrounding the crime, the accused may also face community service, and depending on if the perpetrator is a minor, they could also receive a driver’s license suspension of up to a year.
Is Criminal Mischief Classed as a Misdemeanor or Felony Offence?
In North Port, criminal mischief can be classed as a misdemeanor or felony depending on the circumstances of the crime and the amount of damage caused to the property. Property damage can occur to ‘real property’ such as houses or buildings or ‘personal property’ such as boats, cars, and other vehicles.
If the damage caused to the property was below $200, then the offense will be considered a second-degree misdemeanor and may incur the following penalties:
- Up to 60 days in jail.
- Up to 6 months on probation.
If the damage caused to the property was between $200-$1000, then the criminal mischief offense will be classed as a first-degree misdemeanor. First-degree misdemeanors can result in the following penalties:
- Up to a year in prison.
- Up to a year on probation.
If the property damage is more than $1000, then the offense will be classed as a third-degree felony and will incur the following punishments:
- Up to 5 years in prison.
It is worthwhile knowing that if the accused perpetrator has prior criminal convictions for criminal mischief, then their charges could be elevated to a third-degree felony. In addition, if the criminal mischief crime was carried out in a place of worship, the penalties may also be greater.
No matter the circumstances of your case, the sooner you speak to a criminal defense attorney, the sooner they can get to work at investigating your case and building a strong defense strategy, and hence the greater your chances of a successful outcome.
How Can a Criminal Defense Lawyer Help?
Depending on the circumstances of your case, a criminal defense lawyer may be able to build a defense strategy that can be used to fight against the charges and penalties you are facing. Possible defenses could include:
- The damage to the property was not a result of your actions.
- The alleged victim does not have ownership of the property.
- The act of damage was not intentional or malicious.
- Your actions were a result of self-defense or the defense of another person.
- Your actions were legally justified.
- There was an apparent lack of intent.
- Your actions did not result in the amount of property damage the alleged victim claims.
Contact The Law Place in North Port Today
If you or a loved one are facing criminal charges for a criminal mischief offense, then you should seek legal advice as soon as possible. At The Law Place, we have a team of attorneys with over 75 years of collective experience in defending the accused. It is useful to know that the majority of our attorneys are AVVO rated 10.0, which is the highest possible rating. The AVVO score is awarded based on trial skills, awards, length of practice, and client reviews and testimonials.
No matter the charges you may be facing, at The Law Place, we understand how daunting and worrying the legal process can be, which is why our law firm offers all our customers a free consultation to discuss the best steps to take. If you chose to pursue your case with us, then your attorney will work to gather all evidence and relevant information surrounding the incident and will work to build a strong defense for your case. Your lawyer will fight for your legal rights and will do their utmost to help you achieve the best possible outcome.
At our offices in North Port, our phone lines are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call us at your earliest convenience on (941) 444-4444 and discuss your legal rights with an experienced attorney.