By Collin County Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeremy Rosenthal
Criminal Mischief is the essentially Texas’ way of labeling vandalism. Under Tex.Pen.C. 28.03, a person commits an offense if, without effective consent of the owner, he intentionally or knowingly damages or destroys the tangible property of the owner; intentionally or knowingly tampers with the tangible property of the owner and causes pecuniary loss or substantial inconvenience to the owner or a third person; or intentionally or knowingly makes makings, including inscriptions, slogans, drawings or paintings, on the tangible property of the owner.
The level of offense of a criminal mischief case stems from the amount of damage to be alleged just as in theft cases. Less than $50 of damage is a Class C misdemeanor; $50 to $500 is a Class B, $500 to $1,500 is a Class A; $1,500 to $20,000 is a State Jail Felony; $20,000 to $100,000 is a 3rd Degree Felony; $100,000 to $200,00o is a 2nd Degree Felony; and $200,000 or greater is a first degree felony.
Also, the punishment levels can differ if the property tampered with are public communication devices, for public transportation, and for utilities such as water gas and utilities.
Criminal mischief cases can often be very difficult for the prosecution to prove. Much of the time the culprit is not apprehended at the scene of an offense. As such, these cases tend to be built on circumstantial evidence and confessions and a skilled criminal defense attorney can be of great value.
If you are contacted by the police investigating a criminal mischief case you should involve an attorney at once!
*Jeremy Rosenthal is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and licensed by the Supreme Court of Texas. Nothing in this article is intended to be legal advice. For legal advice about any specific case you should consult an attorney.