Bucks County Criminal Destruction of Property Defense Lawyer
It was a joke, an irrational act of anger or revenge; it was reckless behavior, but it resulted in damage to someone else’s property. In Pennsylvania, these acts of vandalism are called “criminal mischief.” Criminal mischief may not sound terrible, but these charges for criminal destruction of property can result in substantial fines, potential jail time, and a permanent criminal record that could jeopardize future employment and other opportunities.
If you are charged with criminal destruction of property in Bucks County, you should consult with a Bucks County criminal destruction of property defense lawyer. The attorneys at Young Marr & Associates have represented hundreds of people charged with destruction of property in Bucks County and will work with you to reduce fines, keep you out of jail, and eliminate other penalties. Call us at (215) 372-8667 to schedule a free consultation on your criminal destruction of property case.
Criminal Destruction of Property and Criminal Mischief Charges in Bucks County
Generally, you think of damage to or destruction of someone’s property as “vandalism,” whether it is graffiti on a wall, breaking a window, or destroying another’s personal property. In PA, deliberately destroying or damaging another’s property without their consent is called criminal mischief. Six specific actions are considered criminal mischief under 18 Pa.C.S. § 3304:
- Intentional, negligent or, reckless destruction of property using fire, explosives, or other dangerous means – this could also result in more serious arson or arson-related charges
- Intentional or reckless tampering with property in a way that endangers the property or other people
- Intentionally damaging or defacing property with spray paint, a marker, or a similar device
- Intentional damage to personal property, such as clothes or a vehicle
- Intentional damage to real property, such as a house or apartment
- Intentional damage or defacement of personal property, public property, or private property by shooting it with a paintball gun or similar device
To fully understand if your conduct falls into any of the above categories, you should consult with an experienced Bucks County criminal destruction of property defense lawyer.
The Penalties and Fines for Criminal Destruction of Property in Bucks County
If you have purposefully or recklessly damaged someone’s property, the potential penalties depend on the value of the damaged property. Any of the above acts of criminal mischief or destruction of property can result in different levels of punishment based on the value of the property loss. It is important to understand that the prosecution must not only prove that the act was committed but must also prove the value of the lost or damaged property. The severity of the charge can be challenged by disputing the value of the property – which is the actual current value of the property and not the replacement cost.
3rd Degree Felony Criminal Mischief
Criminal mischief will be charged as a 3rd degree felony if the loss exceeds $5,000 or substantially interrupted or interfered with public communication, transportation, or the supply of public services. This is punishable by up to 7 years in prison and fines up to $15,000.
2nd Degree Misdemeanor Criminal Mischief
The offense will be charged as a 2nd degree misdemeanor if the property damage exceeds $1,000. This is punishable by up to 2 years in prison and fines up to $5,000.
3rd Degree Misdemeanor Criminal Mischief
Criminal mischief will be a 3rd degree misdemeanor if the property loss exceeds $500. This is punishable by up to 90 days in jail and fines up to $2,500.
Summary Criminal Mischief
Criminal mischief will be a summary offense if the property loss is $500 or less. This is punishable by up to 90 days in jail and fines up to $250.
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has an additional crime, “institutional vandalism,” which specifically punishes the intentional or reckless destruction or defacement of any of the following:
- Churches, synagogues, or any other places of worship
- Community centers
- Local government buildings or vehicles
- Juvenile detention centers
- The grounds adjacent to or used by any of these facilities
- Any personal property that is located at any of these facilities
Institutional vandalism is a 2nd degree misdemeanor unless the property loss is more than $5,000, in which case it is a 3rd degree felony.
You may also face additional penalties if the criminal mischief charge is related to a domestic violence charge. Damage to a spouse or dating partner’s personal or real property may result in mandatory counseling or require anger management courses. If the behavior violated a protection from abuse order or restraining order, then it may result in increased jail time.
It is important to consult with an experienced Bucks County criminal destruction of property defense attorney to understand the charges stemming from the criminal destruction of property. The experienced lawyers at Young Marr & Associates will work to defend you as well as mitigate the penalties and consequences you might face.
Call Our Bucks County Criminal Mischief and Destruction of Property Attorneys Today
Even though the word “mischief” may not sound terrible, charges for criminal mischief can result in a permanent criminal record, serious fines, and potential jail time. You may have merely thought you were playing a prank, or you may have lost control for a moment and are now facing serious charges. You need to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney that will work vigorously to defend your rights and eliminate or mitigate any charges against you. Call the Bucks County criminal destruction of property defense lawyers at Young Marr & Associates at (215) 372-8667 to schedule a free consultation.
NO JAIL TIME
Commonwealth v. "H" (DUI case)
Client was charged with three separate DUI cases calling for mandatory minimum imprisonment of 90 days on each case. Client was advised to seek immediate intensive alcohol counseling. Client was sentenced to 1 year of house arrest after serving 3 days in the county prison.
Commonwealth v. "C" (Felony drug/Firearms case)
Client was charged with felony Delivery of drugs and illegal gun possession and was facing a mandatory 3-6 year prison sentence in the State prison system. Client was sentenced to one year of house arrest.
Commonwealth v. "S"
Client was charged with simple assault, domestic. After a hearing where evidence and testimony was presented, the entire case was dismissed by Judge Leonard Brown.
State of New Jersey v. "H"
Charges for young man charged with second degree aggravated assault were downgraded to third degree and he was accepted into the County Pretrial Intervention program with charges to be dismissed and record expunged after one year of misconduct free behavior.
OUR CRIMINAL DEFENSE TEAM INCLUDES TWO FORMER DISTRICT ATTORNEYS
We have decades of experience dealing with local police departments, prosecutors, and judges throughout southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Anyone facing charges involving a criminal offense can expect to experience a heightened degree of emotional turmoil, for themselves, as well as their family members. Our team of highly qualified criminal law attorneys and expert legal support staff are committed to providing each of our client’s with the compassion and understanding they deserve, as well as an aggressive plan for representation at an affordable price.
As former prosecutors, we have a balanced and in-depth understanding of the criminal justice system and how the prosecution prepares cases. In addition, we have long-standing experience dealing with local police departments, prosecutors and judges throughout southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
At Young, Marr and Associates, when we say “experience matters,” we mean it. Our lawyers, which include two former prosecutors and a former senior deputy district attorney bring more than three decades of criminal law experience, handling more than 10,000 criminal cases. It is precisely that experience that allows us to achieve outstanding results for our clients facing DUI, traffic, felony and misdemeanor charges in state, federal and juvenile courts.