Criminal mischief is an extremely vague term used to refer to offenses involving property damage in New Jersey. These offenses can involve vandalism or graffiti and may be issued in addition to other charges such as trespassing or burglary. When facing a criminal mischief charge, it is important to understand the grading, in other words, how the degree of these charges is determined. Generally, authorities will determine an estimated value of property damage associated with the alleged offense, with the severity of the charges and associated penalties increasing as the amount of property damage increases. Regardless of the degree of your criminal mischief charges, you may be exposed to a criminal conviction on your record, thousands of dollars in fines and restitution payments, community service, and even a term of imprisonment. Addressing these allegations head-on is the only way to achieve a successful outcome.
The attorneys at Breslow Law Offices have established a reputation as ferocious legal professionals during their times working for the State. They now wield this powerful stance to serve clients as a highly effective defense attorneys in courtrooms across the State. With their knowledge and experience on your side, you can rest assured that your interests are thoroughly and vigorously protected. To speak with an attorney today about your case, contact their office for a free consultation 973-239-8000.
Criminal Mischief Charges in New Jersey: N.J.S.A. 2C: 17-3
Criminal mischief offenses are outlined in section N.J.S.A. 2C: 17-3 of the New Jersey Criminal Code, which reads:
a. Offense defined. A person is guilty of criminal mischief if he:
(1) Purposely or knowingly damages tangible property of another or damages tangible property of another recklessly or negligently in the employment of fire, explosives or other dangerous means listed in subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:17-2; or
(2) Purposely, knowingly or recklessly tampers with tangible property of another so as to endanger person or property, including the damaging or destroying of rental premises by a tenant in retaliation for institution of eviction proceedings.
Charges for Criminal Mischief in Essex County?
As mentioned previously, the degree of criminal mischief charges is contingent upon the nature and extent of property damage resulting from the offense. These distinctions are as follows:
- Property Damage of $500 or Less – Disorderly Persons Offense: penalties may include up to 6 months in the county jail
- Property Damage of Between $500 and $2,000 – Fourth Degree Crime: penalties may include up to 18 months in New Jersey State Prison
- Property Damage Involves Public Utilities (i.e. gas, oil, water, or telephone lines) – Fourth Degree Crime: penalties may include up to 18 months in New Jersey State Prison
- Property Damage Exceeds $2,000 – Third Degree Crime: penalties may include a term of incarceration ranging from 3 to 5 years in New Jersey State Prison
- Property Damage Involves Tampering with and/or Disrupting Public Utilities and Results in Death – Second Degree Crime: penalties may include a term of incarceration ranging from 5 to 10 years in New Jersey State Prison
In addition to the aforementioned penalties, a criminal mischief conviction for an offense involving graffiti is also punishable by restitution payments to compensate for the property damage and community service for a period of not less than 20 days or not less than the number of days necessary to remove the graffiti from the property.
Contact a Newark NJ Criminal Mischief Defense Lawyer for a Free Consultation
With such profound consequences and your future hanging in the balance, it is essential to find an aggressive legal advocate who can combat the State’s case on your behalf and, if necessary, negotiate for the most favorable resolution. Contact the attorneys at Breslow Law Offices 973-239-8000 to speak about the circumstances of your case.