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New York Criminal Mischief Defense Lawyer

Criminal mischief refers to the intentional damaging of someone else’s property without a legitimate reason and without their permission.  Criminal mischief is often charged in connection with drunken altercations such as bar fights, in domestic violence situations where one party damages the phone or car of another, or in hostile encounters between pedestrians in the subway or on the street.   The severity of the charges depends on the value of the property damaged.  Even the lowest level of the crime can yield up to a year in jail, while more serious incidents of mischief may be punishable as a felony and lead to significant prison time.

Whatever the nature of the charges, they should not be taken lightly.  Call a dedicated criminal mischief defense lawyer in Goshen if you or someone you know has been arrested or charged with criminal mischief in order to start building your defense and protecting your rights.

Levels and Punishments for Criminal Mischief

The base crime of criminal mischief in New York, called Criminal Mischief in the Fourth Degree, is a Class A misdemeanor, carrying a penalty of up to a year in jail and a fine.  The definitions and penalties for the higher levels of the crime are as follows:

  • Criminal Mischief in the Third Degree applies when the total damage caused was over $250, the event involved breaking into a car, or the defendant has prior convictions for criminal mischief. Third-Degree Criminal Mischief is a Class E felony punishable by up to four years in prison, or more for repeat offenders.
  • Criminal Mischief in the Second Degree applies when the total damage caused was over $1,500. Second-Degree Criminal Mischief is a Class D felony punishable by up to seven years in prison, or more for repeat offenders.
  • Criminal Mischief in the First Degree applies when the damage was caused by means of an explosion. First-Degree Criminal Mischief is a Class B felony punishable by up to 25 years in prison.

It is easy to see how even a minor altercation can lead to severe penalties.  While it would seem excessive for a police officer to charge a person with a felony just because they damaged a cell phone, such charges are technically permissible under the law.  Criminal mischief charges are ripe for abuse by overzealous police and prosecutors, usable to further an agenda or make a personal attack on a defendant.

Defending Against Criminal Mischief Charges

Criminal mischief is chargeable whenever someone deliberately damages someone else’s property, but there are a variety of defenses that may be available.  The defendant may have damaged the property accidentally, they may have believed they had the permission of the owner, or there may be holes in the prosecution’s proof about how the property was damaged in the first place.  If the prosecution’s case rests entirely on the word of the alleged victim, with no other evidence, then a seasoned defense attorney has plenty of tools to mitigate the charges or see them dropped entirely.

Additionally, it is important that your rights were respected during the investigation and subsequent arrest.  Your Bronx criminal defense lawyer will ensure that police and prosecutors do not get away with violating your rights during the process, and that all of your available defenses are properly explored.  Do not wait to call a respected defense lawyer after your arrest for criminal mischief.

Get Help With Criminal Mischief Charges From Experienced New York Criminal Defense Attorneys

If you have been arrested and charged with criminal mischief under New York state law, contact Dupée & Monroe, P.C., in Goshen. We represent clients charged with misdemeanor or felony mischief and other serious offenses in Orange County and throughout the Hudson Valley.

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