Criminal mischief may sound like a bit of light-hearted pranking, but the crime goes well beyond a couple of eggs thrown at a door. Police arrest dozens of offenders every year for willful destruction of property, the consequences of which can be serious and life-changing.
Your chances of beating a criminal mischief case increase dramatically with the help of a qualified lawyer. Every case is unique, and you need an attorney up to the task. Luckily, you’ve come to the right place to find one.
If you or a loved one has been arrested and charged for criminal mischief in Port Charlotte, you need to contact a criminal defense attorney immediately. The Law Place will start strategizing for your defense as soon as possible. A lawyer from our law firm will be dispatched to help guide you through the booking process and assist you in any dealings with the police or prosecution. We offer unmatched legal advice for all our clients across Florida and in multiple practice areas that may affect your case.
Don’t wait to call The Law Place. We can help get you through this trying time. Contact us today at (941) 444-4444.
What Is Considered Criminal Mischief Under Florida Law?
Criminal mischief, listed by Florida Statute 806.13, is a misdemeanor or felony offense that deals with the willful destruction of another person’s property. If you intentionally deface or cause damage to property that doesn’t belong to you, you have committed an act of criminal mischief.
For a free legal consultation with a criminal mischief lawyer serving Port Charlotte, call 941-444-4444
What Is the Difference Between Misdemeanor and Felony Criminal Mischief in Florida?
The are several factors the court takes into consideration when determining whether a criminal mischief charge is a misdemeanor or felony. The amount of damage that was caused, previous convictions of criminal mischief, and the potential disruption of services rendered by the property can all affect your sentencing.
- If the property damage was $200 or less, it is a misdemeanor in the second-degree.
- If the property damage was more than $200 and less than $1,000, it is a misdemeanor in the first-degree.
- If the property damage was more than $1,000, it is a felony in the third-degree.
- If the destruction caused the cessation of services rendered by the property for any period, it is a felony in the third-degree.
- If the destruction disrupted any public utilities or services like the water, gas, or power supply that requires more than $1,000 in labor or equipment to restore, it is a felony in the third-degree.
- If you have one or more previous convictions of this crime on your record, any subsequent offense is a felony in the third-degree.
- If the destruction was directed towards any place of worship, like a synagogue, mosque, or church, or to any items of religious value contained within, it is a felony in the third degree (for $200 or more in damage).
- Any damage to a public communications device like an antenna, cell tower, or public telephone, which results in the disruption of public telephone services, is a felony in the third degree.
- Any damage to a violent sexual predator detention facility is a felony in the third degree (for $200 or more in damage).
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What Are the Penalties for Criminal Mischief Under Florida Law?
The precise penalties for criminal mischief will depend on if the charges are for a misdemeanor in the first or second-degree, or a felony in the third degree. As per Florida Statutes 775.082, 775.083, and 775.084, the following outlines the specific penalties you can face if you are convicted of these charges:
- Up to 60 days in jail.
- Up to $500 in fines.
- Up to 1 year in jail.
- Up to $1,000 in fines.
- Up to 5 years in prison.
- Up to $10,000 in fines.
In addition to the penalties listed above, you may have to pay for the property damage you caused. Also, Florida law states that any criminal mischief offenders must also pay additional fines of:
- Not less than $250 for a first conviction.
- Not less than $500 for a second conviction.
- Not less than $1,000 for a third or subsequent conviction.
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Examples of Common Types of Criminal Mischief in Port Charlotte
Some common examples of acts that are considered criminal mischief are:
- Grafitti on private or public buildings, vehicles, and other types of property.
- Infecting someone’s computer with a virus.
- Tampering with a fire hydrant.
- Defacing or destroying public signage.
- Tampering with an emergency exit, emergency exit sign, or fire alarm.
- Defacing a grave, tombstone, or memorial.
- Disfiguring or obstructing property with foreign objects.
These are just a few of the situations that call for criminal mischief charges. It should be noted that the digital space is a growing arena for these types of charges in addition to other offenses against computer users. Because computers and websites are considered property, hacking or disrupting the services they provide can be considered criminal mischief.
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What Can a Florida Criminal Mischief Lawyer Do for My Case?
There are a few methods to defend against a criminal mischief charge. The Law Place is prepared to strategize your defense based on the individual needs of your case and will provide you with a detailed outline of our services in your free consultation. Some of the ways we can fight your charges are by arguing:
- The property damage was not due to your conduct or actions.
- The alleged victim does not have a claim of ownership on the property.
- The act of destruction or defacement was not intentional or malicious.
- Your actions did not result in the amount of property damage the alleged victim claims.
- The act took place during an altercation that resulted in unintentional destruction of property.
- Your actions were legally justified.
- Your actions were the result of self-defense or the defense of another person.
Contact The Law Place Florida Criminal Defense Law Firm Today!
Have you been charged with criminal mischief in Port Charlotte? Are you afraid of being fined and possibly sentenced to jail time?
Contact The Law Place now to enlist an exceptional criminal defense attorney. Our law firm has over 75 years of combined experience representing defendants in criminal mischief cases just like yours. We offer an excellent attorney-client relationship and will do everything in our power to get the best case results possible.
Schedule a free consultation with a lawyer from The Law Place in Port Charlotte today. Our representatives are available day or night and are waiting for your call.
Contact us now at (941) 444-4444.
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