While the offense may not sound serious, a conviction for criminal mischief can result in a conviction of a class 2 felony, which can result in up to 24 years in prison. If you are facing criminal mischief charges, it is essential that you work closely with an experienced Loveland criminal defense lawyer. Attorney Sean P. Harrell is a former district attorney for the 18th Judicial District. He can use his experience on the other side of the aisle to help mount an effective strategy in your defense. Contact The Harrell Law Firm, PLLC for help online or call (970) 791-2006 today.
What Is Criminal Mischief?
Criminal mischief is defined under Colorado law as knowingly damaging another person’s property. This offense includes damage to real or personal property. You can even be charged with criminal mischief if you are a co-owner of the damaged property.
Examples of acts that could result in criminal mischief charges include:
- Breaking property during an argument with a romantic partner
- Punching walls
- Painting graffiti
- Slashing tires
- Breaking car windows
- Setting off smoke bombs
This charge is in addition to any other charges related to an altercation, such as assault.
Potential Penalties for Criminal Mischief
The potential penalties you can face if charged with criminal mischief depend on the value of the damage to the property, as described below:
- Less than $300 of damage – Petty offense, punishable by up to ten days in jail and a fine of up to $300
- $300 to $999 of damage – Class 2 misdemeanor, punishable by up to 120 days in jail and a fine of up to $750
- $1,000 to $1,999 of damage – Class 1 misdemeanor, punishable by up to 364 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000
- $2,000 to $4,999 of damage – Class 6 felony, punishable by up to 1.5 years in Colorado State Prison and a fine of up to $100,000
- $5,000 to $19,999 of damage – Class 5 felony, punishable by up to three years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000
- $20,000 to $99,999 of damage – Class 4 felony, punishable by up to six years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000
- $100,000 to $999,999 of damage – Class 3 felony, punishable by up to twelve years in prison and a fine of up to $750,000
- $1 million or more of damage – Class 2 felony, punishable by up to 24 years in prison and a fine of up to $1 million
Possible Defenses to a Criminal Mischief Charge
There may be several possible defenses to charges of criminal mischief. Because this is a specific intent crime, one possible defense is that the damage occurred accidentally. The prosecutor has the burden of showing by proof beyond a reasonable doubt that you knowingly damaged the property.
Another defense you may assert is that you were acting in self-defense. For example, if your partner was trying to attack you and you quickly slammed a door and caused damage to it, you might assert this defense.
In other cases, someone else might have damaged the property, not you.
In other situations, you might admit that you damaged the property, but you might show that the damage was much less than the charge alleges, which could allow you to face less harsh penalties.
Contact an Experienced Loveland Criminal Mischief Lawyer
If you are accused of criminal mischief, it is vital you take these charges seriously. These charges have the potential to send you to prison and cost you thousands of dollars in expensive fines. Sean P. Harrell at The Harrell Law Firm, PLLC is here to help. Contact a Loveland criminal mischief attorney today to schedule a confidential consultation with a lawyer who cares about your long-term objectives. Call us at (970) 791-2006 or schedule a free consultation online.