If you're facing a Criminal Mischief or Vandalism charge, consult the experienced criminal defense lawyers at Bottari & Doyle today. Under Florida state law, vandalism and similar acts are considered a form of Criminal Mischief and a serious offense. Slashing tires, spraying graffiti, breaking windows, and keying cars are common examples acts of Criminal Mischief in Delray Beach. Oftentimes, Criminal Mischief arrests come with intoxication charges or other alcohol-related offenses. If you're facing a Criminal Mischief charge, or you've been arrested for vandalism in South Florida, the Delray Beach criminal defense law firm of Bottari & Doyle is here to help.
Criminal Mischief & Vandalism in Delray Beach
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, and “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 in Delray Beach
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.
Do I need a Criminal Defense Lawyer for Vandalism?
Yes. If you've been charged with criminal mischief or vandalism, you should speak to a Delray Beach criminal defense lawyer immediately to learn more about your rights, possible defenses, and the complicated legal system. There are many defenses to criminal mischief, including but not limited to:
- 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?
Don't make the mistake of representing yourself and don't give up too early – when our criminal defense team represents you, you'll benefit from advice and assistance in the following steps of your legal case:
- We'll investigate and determine if your legal rights were violated at any point in your arrest.
- We'll gather critical evidence and facts, such as 911 reports, witness statements, video evidence, social media research, and more.
- After assessing all possible scenarios and outcomes, we'll walk you through the options and give our honest recommendations so that you can make the best decision for you and your situation.
- If your case goes to trial, we will stand up for you and fight for your rights at every turn throughout the court and legal process.
Contact a Delray Beach Vandalism Lawyer at Bottari & Doyle
If you have been arrested or charged with Criminal Mischief or Vandalism, contact a Delray Beach criminal defense lawyer from Bottari & Doyle at (561)-588-2781 for a free case evaluation.