In Florida, criminal mischief is the legal term for what is commonly known as vandalism, as well as other similar acts, like graffiti. Whilst a charge for criminal mischief may seem insignificant at first, a conviction could still result in jail time and high fines, and graffiti is punished particularly harshly in Florida. Therefore, if you have been charged with criminal mischief, it is crucial that you understand the severity of the consequences and get in touch with a law firm for help.
The Venice criminal defense lawyers at The Law Place have over 75 years of combined experience in dealing with the Florida legal system and helping clients, just like you, beat their charges. We don’t believe you deserve to be punished so harshly for what is a relatively harmless crime, so contact us today. You can rely on us to prioritize your case and carefully build a strong defense on your behalf. With one of our attorneys on your side, you’ll have the best shot at a favorable outcome.
Call us today for a completely free consultation at (941) 444-4444!
What Is Criminal Mischief Under Florida Law?
All the states in America have slightly different laws when it comes to criminal mischief, but Florida Statute 806.13 defines it as when a person maliciously injures or damages any real or personal property belonging to another by any means. This includes but is not limited to the placement of graffiti or other acts of vandalism.
Put simply, if you willingly and knowingly cause damage to someone’s property, then you are committing criminal mischief. Depending on the extent of the damage that was caused, a criminal mischief charge could be a misdemeanor or a felony.
Because of how severe the consequences of a criminal mischief charge can be, it is crucial that you contact an attorney to represent you. The Law Place is here to help when you need it most, so call our Venice office today for more information.
Examples of Criminal Mischief Crimes in Venice, FL.
There are many types of crimes that are classified as ‘criminal mischief,’ but some of the most common ones in Florida are listed below:
- Graffiti on any property, including buildings and vehicles.
- Hacking into and/or installing a virus onto someone’s computer.
- Tampering with an emergency exit, fire alarm, or emergency exit sign.
- Tampering with a fire hydrant or hose.
- Tampering with a grave.
- Damaging or destroying property with a foreign object.
- Obstructing or marking property with a foreign object.
- Removing a boundary marker.
Regardless of what specific type of criminal mischief you’ve been accused of, the criminal defense attorneys at The Law Place will be able to guide you through the legal process and fight on your behalf. Contact us today and schedule a free consultation.
Difference Between Misdemeanor and Felony Criminal Mischief in Venice
As with many different crimes in Florida, it is possible to be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony for criminal mischief cases, depending on the circumstances surrounding the specific case. Often, the most important factors are the amount of damage that was inflicted and who the damage was inflicted upon. However, the majority of cases are classed as misdemeanors.
For more information specific to your case, contact The Law Place today.
You will be facing a second-degree misdemeanor, the least severe charge, if the damage inflicted upon the property was worth less than $200.
If the damage that was inflicted onto the property was worth between $200 and $1,000, then you could be facing a first-degree misdemeanor charge.
There are many reasons as to why your criminal mischief charge could be elevated to a felony charge, but the most common ones are listed below:
- The damage inflicted on the property was worth more than $1,000.
- The destruction meant that the property couldn’t provide the services it normally did.
- The destruction impacted public utilities, such as water, gas, and power supplies.
- You have a previous criminal mischief conviction.
- The property involved was a place of worship, and the damage was worth more than $200.
- The destruction impacted the public communications systems or public telephone services.
- The property involved was a violent sexual predator detention facility, and the damage was worth more than $200.
Common Penalties for Criminal Mischief in Venice, FL.
If you’re convicted of your charge, then the sentence you receive will depend entirely on the specific circumstances surrounding your case. Misdemeanors result in lesser penalties, whereas felony charges lead to much more serious consequences.
- For a second-degree misdemeanor – A maximum of 60 days in jail and up to $500 in fines.
- For a first-degree misdemeanor – A maximum of one year in jail and up to $1,000 in fines.
- For a third-degree felony – A maximum of five years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.
As well as these penalties, offenders may have to pay for the property damage that they caused. In extreme cases, this could add thousands of dollars to your sentence.
These penalties can be very daunting, so if you’re facing a criminal mischief charge, you should contact The Law Place immediately. The attorneys at our law firm will thoroughly investigate your case to build a solid defense on your behalf. By working with us, you will be limiting your chances of a conviction, so don’t delay! Call us today to schedule a free consultation.
Additional Graffiti Laws Which Apply to Criminal Mischief Cases in Venice, FL.
Unlike other criminal mischief crimes, if you have been accused of graffitiing, you could be facing additional penalties, as well as those listed above.
If you have been convicted of criminal mischief, which involved creating graffiti, then you will be required to fulfill at least 40 hours of community service. Depending on your case, you may also have to undertake an extra 100 hours, which will be dedicated to the removal of other graffiti.
You will also be facing additional fines of up to $250 for a first conviction, $500 for a second conviction, and $1,000 for a third or subsequent conviction.
A charge for criminal mischief with graffiti could lead to extreme financial loss, amongst other consequences, and so it’s essential that you call The Law Place today to give yourself the best chance at securing a lenient sentence, case dismissal, or acquittal.
How Do Graffiti Laws Apply to Minors in Venice?
In Florida, the laws are slightly different in cases where it’s a minor that has committed criminal mischief through graffiti. This is because the parent/guardian will be expected to pay the fine. On top of this, the minor’s driver’s license will be suspended or won’t be issued for one year, if applicable.
How Are Criminal Mischief Charges Proven in Florida?
For a criminal mischief charge, the prosecution must be able to successfully prove a number of factors beyond any reasonable doubt. These are listed below:
- The defendant damaged another person’s property, either personal or real property.
- The property damage was intentional and committed willfully and maliciously by the defendant.
- The property that was damaged by the defendant belonged to the alleged victim.
In this case, “willfully” means that the property was damaged on purpose, and “maliciously” means that the damage was committed without legal justification or any reasonable excuse. As well as this, it means that the defendant knew that their actions would damage the property. You can also be charged with criminal mischief if you have acted recklessly, as you were aware that your actions had the potential to cause harm.
While it is the prosecution’s job to prove the above, it is your defense attorney’s job to prevent them from being able to do this. The Venice lawyers at The Law Place have decades of experience in helping clients facing charges just like yours and have the skill and knowledge required to build a strong defense on your behalf.
Can a Venice Criminal Mischief Charge Be Expunged?
The State of Florida does not allow criminal convictions to be expunged from criminal records. Unfortunately, this includes both felonies and misdemeanors. This means that if you are convicted of either a misdemeanor or felony criminal mischief, you would not be able to have your record expunged, and the conviction will stay with you for life.
However, under Florida Statute 943.0585, it would be possible for you to get your record expunged if the charge did not result in a conviction. This means that if you go to trial for a criminal mischief charge and are found not guilty or the charges were dismissed, then your arrest record can be expunged.
Because of these rules, it is crucial that you hire a skilled criminal defense attorney to fight your charge. If not, a criminal mischief conviction may be on your criminal record permanently and could have a huge impact on the rest of your life. We know how serious this can be, and so we will work tirelessly to ensure that you receive the most favorable outcome possible. Our lawyers can also help if you are looking to get your criminal record expunged, so contact us today to schedule a free consultation.
When Should You Hire a Defense Attorney?
If you have been charged with criminal mischief in Venice or elsewhere in Florida, then it’s vital that you don’t hesitate to seek legal advice from a skilled criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
When law enforcement has first arrested and accused someone of a crime, they will try to use the defendant’s lack of knowledge and unease against them. Officers have experience and training in questioning suspects and extracting information without the suspect even realizing it. They are even allowed to be dishonest and deceptive in interviews. This is why, if you’re arrested, it’s important that you think clearly and use your right to remain silent to ensure that your rights are protected. It’s also crucial that you don’t speak until you have spoken with a criminal defense attorney and have a legal team on your side that can give you advice on what you should and shouldn’t say.
The sooner that you contact The Law Place, the better, as it will give our defense team plenty of time to investigate your case, gather evidence, build a strong defense, and prepare to represent you for your trial, so don’t hesitate! Call us today to book a free case evaluation and begin the legal process.
What Can an Attorney From The Law Place Do for You?
You may be feeling a lot of stress and unease if you’re facing vandalism charges. You may also be feeling confused by the complex Florida legal system and too scared to even attempt to navigate it. Because of this, it’s crucial that you contact a Venice criminal defense lawyer. Our attorneys will be able to guide and support you every step of the way. We will explain the process to you so that you understand what is going on and no longer feel confused.
We’ll also take on the bulk of the work, so you don’t have to worry about it. Below is a list of some of the things that our criminal defense lawyers will do for you:
- Diligently investigate your case.
- Interview witnesses.
- Review police reports.
- Subpoena all relevant documents.
- Research all relevant statutes and precedents.
- Prepare to cross-examine
- Submit all required legal documents.
- Create an aggressive and strong defense.
- Legally represent you in court.
- Negotiate with the prosecution to try to reduce your charges, drop the charges, or secure a plea deal.
- Fight for a dismissal, acquittal, or for the most lenient penalties possible on your behalf.
If you have been charged with vandalism or another kind of criminal mischief, then our law firm can help you. Our lawyers have the knowledge, experience, and determination needed to ensure you have the best chance at securing a favorable result based on your particular case. So contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our skilled attorneys!
How Much Does a Lawyer Cost?
Standard legal fees do not exist, but the average cost of legal fees by lawyers in criminal cases is said to be around $1,500. However, most defendants should expect to pay more. For defendants facing a misdemeanor that goes to trial, they should expect a legal fee of around $2,000-$3,000.
The costs of legal fees can depend on the below factors:
- The complexity of the case – Attorneys often charge more for felonies than misdemeanors, as felonies require more court appearances and need more preparation.
- That attorney’s experience – Less experienced lawyers set lower fees than more experienced ones, as they are often not as skilled. You should be wary if you encounter particularly low hourly rates, as this can be misleading. A more experienced lawyer who charges a higher hourly rate may be able to handle the case quicker and, therefore, will be less expensive overall.
- Geography – Based on where you are in the state, the cost of lawyers will vary.
The Law Place offers free consultations to everyone facing charges of criminal mischief, and during these case evaluations, our lawyers will go through our fees and calculate how much you may have to pay, meaning there will be no nasty, unexpected costs. We also work on a contingency basis, so we won’t get paid unless you do! Contact us today for more information specific to your case.
What Are Some Possible Defenses for Criminal Mischief in Venice?
All cases are different, meaning that all defenses must be tailored specifically to a case. However, there are many different defenses that your criminal defense lawyer could use to contest the charges against you. These include the following:
- Questioning if the conduct of the defendant actually caused the damage.
- Proving that the damaged property was jointly owned by the alleged victim and the defendant.
- Questioning whether the damage caused by the defendant was actually willful – perhaps it happened during a mutual altercation.
- Proving that the damage caused was actually accidental.
- Proving that the conduct of the defendant had some kind of legal justification.
- Proving that there were other extenuating circumstances that could excuse the defendant’s conduct.
- Proving the defendant was defending or protecting themselves when they damaged the property.
- Questioning if the defendant’s act was actually “wrongful.”
Your lawyer will change the specifics of the defense that they put forward based on your case, as one situation is never the same as another. Our team of highly-qualified criminal defense lawyers will examine the circumstances that surround your charges and will figure out the most effective approach to minimize the consequences that you face.
Can I Get My Charges Dismissed?
Although it’s fairly unlikely, it’s possible that you could get the charges that you are facing dismissed by a judge. Below are the most common reasons why a judge may choose to dismiss a case:
- Granting leniency– If this charge is your first criminal mischief offense and you only did a small amount of damage, then a judge may choose to reduce or dismiss the charges against you.
- Mishandling of evidence– In some cases, law enforcement mishandles or illegally obtains evidence, which will then leave a judge with no choice but to dismiss your case.
- Lack of evidence – The prosecution’s evidence may not be sufficient enough to lead to a conviction, and so the judge may dismiss charges. However, this is highly unlikely. Usually, cases don’t move forward unless the evidence is adequate enough to lead to a conviction.
When facing criminal charges, many defendants may feel very downhearted. However, by working with The Law Place, there is a chance that our lawyers will be able to find a defense that could apply to your case and then successfully argue for your criminal mischief charges to be dismissed. In order to speak to an experienced and skilled attorney, contact us today to schedule a free consultation.
Important Questions You Should Ask Any Potential Florida Criminal Defense Attorney
When working with any lawyer, it is important that you share a mutual trust and feel comfortable disclosing all the relevant facts of your criminal mischief case. You should also have complete trust that they are motivated to minimize the consequences of the charges that you’re facing. The more aware you make your attorney of the details surrounding your case, the stronger the defense they’ll be able to build. It is important that your lawyer has all the facts, even those you don’t think to be significant.
In order to trust you have hired the best possible lawyer to represent your Venice criminal mischief case, we recommend you ask the following questions to any potential attorney:
- Have you been involved in any cases similar to mine before?
- What were the results of these cases?
- Could you tell me the fees you will likely be charging for my specific case, and can we develop a payment plan?
- How many jury trials have you been involved in?
- What is your record for plea bargains?
- Can I see references or testimonials from some of your previous clients?
The final question is arguably the most important one. If an attorney can’t or refuses to provide you with references, then this is a huge red flag. A skilled lawyer should be proud of their record and more than happy to share references with you to put your mind at ease and ensure you’re confident in their abilities and the representation they offer.
What Makes a Good Criminal Defense Attorney?
Hiring a criminal defense attorney is a very critical decision, as you are trusting strangers to handle a situation that could potentially have a devastating impact on your life. Therefore, it’s crucial you know exactly what to look for when hiring legal representation. When looking for a criminal defense lawyer, you should want them to be the following:
- Trustworthy– The communication you have with your Florida attorney must be completely confidential, and you should feel assured that they will keep this promise, as you need to be able to speak freely with them.
- An excellent communicator – Your criminal defense attorney must be excellent at communicating and listening in order to build an effective defense, represent you in court, and negotiate on your behalf. They should also speak clearly and concisely to ensure you understand what is happening with your case at all times.
- Committed to you and your case – Your Florida lawyer should be entirely committed to your case. If not, your chance at a successful outcome will decrease. Our team promises to commit themselves to your case and to dedicate their hours to fighting your charges.
With decades of experience, our criminal defense attorneys know they must meet these requirements and always go above and beyond. Our team will be able to build an effective attorney-client relationship with you and will support and guide you through this trying time, so for exceptional legal help, contact The Law Place today.
Contact The Law Place Today!
If you or a loved one are facing a misdemeanor or felony criminal mischief charge in Venice, then you should contact us today to find out your options.
When it comes to criminal mischief, the Florida legal system is very complex. This is why it’s essential that you enlist the help of a qualified criminal defense attorney to give you the best chance at securing a favorable result. Our team will start preparing for your case as soon as you get in touch to ensure they have plenty of time to build the strongest defense possible. We also offer free consultations for anyone charged with criminal mischief, where one of our lawyers will go through the details of your case, explain how our representation will help you, and answer any other questions you may have.
So for excellent legal advice and support, don’t hesitate to contact The Law Place. Our phone lines are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so get in touch with us today.
Call The Law Place now at (941) 444-4444!