We were all kids at one point in our lives, thinking we were invincible or just caught up in a bit of teenage pranking and figured it could not be that bad. From smearing colored shaving cream on a car, egging or teepeeing a house, or even stealing lawn ornaments for the giggles and the thrill of not getting caught. As the old saying goes, kids will be kids, but it is every parent's worst nightmare to get a call from the jailhouse that your teenager is in custody. These are all serious and are considered criminal mischief in the State of Texas.
Preventing Criminal Mischief
There is no perfect protection, but one way to start is for parents to talk to their children about the importance of respecting other people's property. In the State of Texas where everyone has a gun on them or nearby, it is important to remind kids of the dangers of crossing into someone's yard and destroying their property. Although this may seem extreme, it is a viable possibility, as a homeowner can mistake a child for a home intruder or burglary about to happen, especially if the offense was to happen at night.
Another thing that can prevent further criminal mischief with teenagers is making them clean or pay to restore the damages that they cost. If they understand the time and monetary value of the property they destroyed, there will be less of a chance of it happening again.
What Is Criminal Mischief?
Criminal mischief is an umbrella term penal code that covers several crimes varying from misdemeanors to felonies. This term describes mostly property damage that includes tampering with the property or the belongings of other people's property.
According to the penal code, a person commits this crime if, without the effective consent of the owner, they intentionally or knowingly damage or destroy the tangible property of the owner. If they knowingly or intentionally tamper with the tangible property of the owner and they cause monetary loss or substantial inconvenience to the owner or a third party person. If they make markings, this includes inscriptions, slogans, drawings, or paintings on the tangible property of the owner intentionally or knowingly.
Examples Of Criminal Mischief
Some models of criminal mischief are damages to a home or dwelling, such as defacing it with spray paint, egging a house, or tearing down someone's fence. It is also good to note that you can be charged with criminal mischief by your spouse if you destroy your own property, thinking it is “community property”.
Another one is damage to a place of business that can be graffiti, tagging, or even not consented to murals, no matter how nice they looked after it was painted. Whenever you see those giant massive murals in Houston, note that the owner must have consented to the painting of it, otherwise, you can be charged with criminal mischief for painting someone's business.
Damaging school property is also considered criminal mischief, believe it or not, all the writings on the school desks can get you in trouble if the school wanted to charge its students. Same thing with the writing in girls' bathrooms or the school lockers. Also, if a student was to intentionally and knowingly plug sinks or toilets for a prank or laugh can be in a lot of trouble as the overflowing of water causes damage.
Damages to automobiles are considered criminal mischief when you scratch the paint on someone's car, break headlamps, break the windows or even the action of putting sugar in the gas tank of someone's car. This is important to remember in case an ex decides to take their anger out on your vehicle. As with the growing trend of jilted ex-lovers coming up with creative ways to destroy someone's property, you may be able to charge them with criminal mischief if enough monetary damage is done to your possessions.
Consequences Of Criminal Mischief
There is a two-year statute of limitation that a plaintiff can file for damages or destroyed property. This is important to note, as something that happened today can still have repercussions in the future when you least expect it.
If the damage or loss value that was caused was under $100, then it is a class C misdemeanor and the consequence is a $500 fine.
If the damage loss value that was caused was between $100 and $750, then it is a class B misdemeanor and the consequence is 180 days in jail and/or fines up to $2,000.
It is a class A misdemeanor, and the consequence is one year in jail and fines up to $4,000 if the damage loss value that was caused was between $750 and $2,500. Or if the defendant causes damage, whether in part or whole impairment or interruption of public communication, transportation, gas, power supply, or other public services. Whether these interruptions are diverted in whole, part, or any manner, this includes installing or removing any device regardless of the monetary loss.
It is a state jail felony, and the consequence is 180 days to two years in jail and fines up to $10,000 if the damage loss value that was caused was between $2,500 and $30,000. This includes if the property was a habitation and there were damages or destruction caused by a firearm or explosive weapon that was less than $2,500. Or if the damages were done to a fence that was used for the production or containment of cattle, bison, horses, sheep, swine, goats, game animals, exotic livestock, or exotic poultry.
It is a third-degree felony that is punishable by 2-10 years in prison with fines up to $10,000 if the monetary loss was between $30,000 and $150,000. It is also a third-degree felony if, discharging a firearm or other weapons or by any other means, causes the death of one or more heads of cattle or bison or one or more horses.
A second-degree felony is punishable by imprisonment of 2-20 years with fines of up to $10,000 if the damage loss value that was caused was between $150,000 and $300,000.
And lastly, a first-degree felony is punishable by 5-99 years in prison with fines up to $10,000 if the damage loss value is more than $300,000.
Defense For Criminal Mischief
If this is your first time committing this crime, you may be offered a deferred adjudication. A deferred adjudication is a type of community service or probation that is given out to first-time offenders. It can normally be a better deal than regular community service because if the term is finished successfully, then the offender will not have a conviction. Also, a deferred adjudication can be sealed from public view with a non-disclosure agreement, but a deferred adjudication can only be granted by a judge. If you are to go through a jury trial, then a deferred adjudication is not allowed. It is a risk to take a deferred adjudication, as you can not pick up another offense or the judge may find you guilty and put you in jail or prison.
There are some cases where the plaintiff may not press severe charges but instead wants the defendant to pay restitution instead of being incarcerated. This is beneficial to the defendant in the case that they can pay for the damages that were caused and avoid serving time.
Need Help? Call Us Now!
Do not forget that when you or anyone you know is facing a criminal charge, you have us, the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, by your side to help you build the best defense case for you. We will work and be in your best interest for you and we will obtain the best possible outcome that can benefit you. We can explain everything you need to know about your trial and how to defend your case best. We can help you step by step through the criminal process.
Therefore, do not hesitate to call us if you find yourself or someone you know that is facing criminal charges unsure about the court system. We will work with you to give you the best type of defense that can help you solve your case. It is vital to have someone explain the result of the charge to you and guide you in the best possible way.
Here at the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, we have professional and knowledgeable criminal law attorneys who are experienced in building a defense case for you that suits your needs for the best possible outcome that can benefit you. Also, here at the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, you are given a consultation at your convenience. You can choose to have your appointment via Zoom, on the phone or in-person and we will provide you with as much advice and information as possible so you can have the best possible result in your case.
Call us now at 281-810-9760.
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