According to Florida statutes, the offense of criminal mischief is committed when you willfully and maliciously damage any property belonging to someone else. It can be willful or negligent, mischievous or vengeful behavior that results in someone’s property being damaged or destroyed, at some quantifiable cost. Criminal mischief also applies to graffiti and vandalism
The charge and potential penalty you face for a criminal mischief offense depends on the damage committed:
- If the damage is valued at less than $200, the charge you face is a 2nd degree misdemeanor punishable by 60 days in jail and $500 in fines.
- If the damage is between $200 and $1,000, the charge entered is a 1st degree misdemeanor which carries a potential sentence of up to 1 year in jail and $1,000 in fines.
- If the damage is valued at more than $1,000 you will face a 3rd degree felony charge and a potential penalty of up to 5 years in prison and fines reaching $5,000.
If you already have a criminal mischief conviction on your record, you will face an elevated charge of a 3rd degree felony. Felonies in the 3rd degree carry up to 5 years in prison and fines of up to $5,000.
If the property damaged is a public telephone, wires of public telephone or any property that renders a public phone unusable the criminal mischief charge is a 3rd degree felony and carries a potential sentence of up to 5 years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines.
If a criminal mischief offense includes graffiti, you will pay a mandatory minimum fine of:
- $250 for a first conviction,
- $500 for a second conviction, or
- $1,000 for a third conviction.
In addition to this mandatory minimum fine, your sentence will include community service requirements. In most circumstances you will be ordered to perform at least 40 hours of community service or, where possible, 100 hours of community service including working to remove graffiti.
For more information please contact our office now to set up an appointment with attorney Daniel Lenghea to determine the best cause of action.