DC Criminal Mischief Lawyer

While criminal mischief may sound like a scenario of minimal harm caused or a small infraction of the law, the government takes any criminal act seriously and will punish an act of criminal mischief up to the fullest extent of the law. Criminal mischief often involves the destruction of other people’s property. It does not matter if the person destroying the property was married to the person whose property was destroyed.

In certain cases, criminal mischief is associated with fights, anger or alcohol. The court may or may not take into consideration mitigating circumstances when choosing a punishment. The value of the property is also important for a court’s decision.

If the police have accused you or a loved one of destroying public property or another person’s property, you may need to enlist the services of a DC criminal mischief lawyer.

An experienced defense attorney may be able to guide you through the criminal legal process, could help explain the laws involved in any charge, and could aid you in the development of an aggressive defense to ensure the most positive outcome possible in your situation.

Criminal Mischief Laws in the District of Columbia

In the District of Columbia, criminal mischief is defined in Code Section 22.303 under the title of “Malicious burning, destruction, or injury of another’s property.” Destruction of property may include:

  • Destroying property out of anger or vengeance
  • Keying cars
  • Slashing tires
  • Vandalism
  • Defacing property (eg. Graffiti)
  • Arson

This law makes it illegal to injure, break or destroy another person’s property with malicious intent. Malicious means intending to do harm. The actor also cannot harm public property. It does not matter what kind of property the actor injured, whether the property is land, a building, a home or personal property. The important factor is that the actor did damage property that did not belong to the actor. Whatever the reason a person is charged with criminal mischief, they are advised to speak with a Washington DC attorney to learn their rights.

Penalties for Criminal Mischief

There are two levels of penalties for the destruction of another person’s property. The levels depend on the value of the property destroyed. If the property was worth at least $1,000, the court could sentence a convicted person to up to ten years in jail and order a fine of no more than $25,000. This type of criminal act is classified as a felony and may remain a part of a person’s criminal record if the court convicts them.

If the property had some value which was worth less than $1,000, then the court can punish a person convicted with up to 180 days of jail and a fine of no more than $1,000. This act is defined as a misdemeanor, which is a lesser crime. Given the potential penalties of a criminal mischief charge, individuals may benefit from contacting a skilled Washington DC criminal mischief lawyer immediately.

Domestic Violence

If someone destroyed the property of someone they are in a relationship with, the act could be part of a domestic violence investigation. With the possible criminal charges, an actor may be subject to an order of protection and there could be consequences related to divorce or custody proceedings in the future.

Reach Out to a Washington DC Criminal Mischief Attorney

No matter what occurred, once the police are involved, it may be time to seek out the services of a knowledgeable and aggressive attorney who understands the laws and criminal procedure. The police are backed up by public officials and prosecutors. You may need equally competent resources aiding you to ensure the best possible outcome considering the circumstances.

It may be difficult to predict the results of a criminal investigation, but you may feel more secure if a Washington DC criminal mischief lawyer is in your corner. Many criminal cases come down to evidentiary disputes.

Your lawyer can fight for the correct information to be discussed while keeping other information out of the legal system. Reach out to an attorney to see how they can help you fight for your freedom and rights.