Criminal Mischief - Florida Statute 806.13 | West Palm Beach Crime Lawyer
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This is a broad category of crime. It has many different “flavors” but the crime is always the willful and malicious injuring or damaging of another person’s property. Examples of this crime are throwing rocks through windows, keying the paint on a car, graffiti on walls, slashing tires, destroying mailboxes, throwing toilet paper all over the outside of a person’s house (“teepeeing”), throwing raw eggs at a house, killing the grass in such a way as to spell a bad word, etc.
This crime comes in different levels depending on the cost of the damage and what was damaged. There is:
- Criminal mischief on non-special property:
- $200 or less;
- Below $1,000 but more than $200; or
- $1,000 and above;
- Criminal mischief on a special type of property such as:
- A Business or a public utility which costs more than $1,000 in labor and supplies to restore;
- A Religious place as long as more than $200 of damage was done;
- Telephone equipment; or
- A sexual predator facility as long as more than $200 of damage was done.
What the State Prosecutor has to Prove to Convict You of Criminal Mischief
The state prosecutor has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt:
- You injured or damaged property;
- The property injured or damaged belonged to another person; and
- You willfully and maliciously damaged or injured the property.
The prosecutor must prove that it was not an accident or a mistake of identity.
There is going to be argument over the amount of damage. For example, if the person paid $300 for a cellphone a year ago but it is currently being sold for $100, how much damage was done? Was the property already damaged and are you being charged with the new and old damage? Did you commit four crimes of criminal mischief totaling $100 of damage or one crime of criminal mischief totaling $400 in damage? What if the teenager slashed a tire on one car and a tire belonging to another car? A good West Palm Beach Criminal Mischief Lawyer can help figure this out.
The victim also might think he is entitled to the best replacement. For example, if you keyed the car door, the victim might say that the whole entire car needs to be repainted and not just the car door. The prosecutor might say that it is $500 of damage because that is what a complete car repainting would cost as opposed to $150 for the repainting of just the door.
Depending on how much damage was done or what was damaged will determine how much punishment can be received. Notice that the cost of damage is not listed in the elements of the crime. A state Prosecutor can easily prove a second-degree misdemeanor case because “life experience” can let the jury determine that damage or injury was done below $200. See Marrero v. State. The state has to prove the cost of damage for criminal mischief above $200 and felony criminal mischief.
$200 and below criminal mischief is a second-degree misdemeanor that is punishable up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine. Above $200 but below $1000 criminal mischief is a first-degree misdemeanor that is punishable up to 365 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. A $1,000 or more criminal mischief or any type of criminal mischief on the special locations listed above is a third-degree felony which is punishable up to 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
You also will be required to pay restitution to the victim for the amount of damage.
If the criminal mischief is graffiti, then special punishment applies. For the first conviction of criminal mischief involving graffiti, the defendant has to pay a fine of $250. The second conviction is a fine of $500 and a $1,000 fine for a third or subsequent conviction. If the defendant is a minor, the parent will be responsible for paying that fine, unless they are indigent. Any graffiti conviction will require 40 hours of community service and possibly 100 hours of community service removing graffiti.
Contact the Law Office of Roger P. Foley, P.A.
If you or a loved one have been arrested and charged, contact us to schedule an appointment. The facts surrounding your case are important and we need to have a consultation to discuss with you your version of the story. We will then create a tailored defense strategy for your case. Our attorneys will aggressively investigate the evidence by looking at the evidence against you that the prosecutor has as well as taking depositions of any police officers or witnesses. We will work to use this evidence to persuade the prosecutor to drop the case. If the prosecutor wants to go to trial, we will defend you all the way.
However, sometimes cases cannot be won. For example, the prosecutor has a video of you vandalizing your ex-girlfriends car. In these situations, we will continue to help you by creating a mitigation package to present to the prosecutor and judge to persuade them to give you a lesser charge or a lesser sentence. Know that in whatever situation you find yourself, our attorneys will be helping you to get the best outcome possible.