Criminal Mischief

| Sep 16, 2010 | Criminal Defense |

Criminal mischief is where a person without the effective consent of the owner he intentionally or knowingly damages or destroys the tangible property of the owner or tampers with the tangible property of the owner and causes pecuniary loss or substantial inconvenience to the owner or a third person or makes markings on the property.

The amount of the money damages typically determines the level of the offense which can reach the level of 1st degree felony (the same level of offense as a killing someone).  So, what seems minor at first can turn into a nightmare.  
For purposes of the statute of limitations in a criminal mischief prosecution involving an unauthorized tap to a gas meter, the offense is a continuing offense that was being committed as long as the tap was installed and gas was being diverted. 
The criminal mischief statute does not require a showing of pecuniary loss if the defendant’s actions caused “substantial inconvenience” to the owner or third person.  Also, it is a state jail felony to cause damage to property or a house with a firearm.  Shooting at houses, buildings, or cars is also made a third degree felony as “deadly conduct.”