Criminal Mischief Florida
Any form of Criminal Mischief is a serious offense. Bottari & Doyle Law Firm in Palm Beach County is here to help. Call 561-588-2781.
Criminal Mischief Definition
To prove the crime of Criminal Mischief, the State must prove the following three elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
- The Defendant injured or damaged real or personal property.
- The property injured or damaged belonged to the person alleged.
- The injury or damage was done willfully and maliciously.
Florida law defines “willfully” as intentionally, knowingly and purposely.
Florida law defines “maliciously” as wrongfully, intentionally, without legal justification or excuse, and with the knowledge that injury or damage may be caused to another person or the property of another person.
If the jury finds beyond a reasonable doubt that the Defendant committed criminal mischief, the jury must then determine if the State proved the value of the damage beyond a reasonable doubt. For example, to convict a Defendant of first degree misdemeanor Criminal Mischief, the State would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the amount of the damage to the property was greater than $200.
Penalties for Criminal Mischief
Pursuant to Florida law, the crime of Criminal Mischief may be charged as either a second degree misdemeanor, a first degree misdemeanor or a third degree felony depending on the monetary amount of the damage to the property.
Criminal Mischief is a second degree misdemeanor if the damage to the property is less than or equal to $200. The maximum punishment for a second degree misdemeanor is 60 days in the county jail.
Criminal Mischief is a first degree misdemeanor if the damage to the property is greater than $200 but less than $1,000. The maximum punishment for a first degree misdemeanor is one year in the county jail.
Criminal Mischief is a third degree felony if the damage to the property is greater than or equal to $1,000. The maximum punishment for a third degree felony is five years in state prison.
Misdemeanor criminal mischief can be enhanced to a third degree felony, if the defendant has a prior conviction for criminal mischief.
Any person who willfully and maliciously defaces, injures, or damages by any means any church, synagogue, mosque, or other place of worship, or any religious article contained therein, commits a felony of the third degree, if the damage to the property is greater than $200. Therefore, what would otherwise be a first degree misdemeanor becomes a third degree felony due to the damage to a place of worship.
Defenses to Criminal Mischief
There are many defenses to the charge of criminal mischief. A criminal defense attorney will be able to explore all possible defenses, but some of the defenses are:
- Was the property actually injured or damaged?
- Did someone else injure or damage the property?
- Did the property belong to the person alleged?
- Did the defendant willfully and maliciously cause the damage, or was the damage caused accidentally?
- Can the State prove the value of the damage beyond a reasonable doubt?
If you have been arrested or charged with Criminal Mischief in Palm Beach County, Martin County, or Broward County, contact a Palm Beach criminal defense attorney from Bottari & Doyle, at (561)-588-2781 for a free consultation.