Facing Criminal Mischief Charges?
A Dallas Criminal Mischief Lawyer Can Build a Strong Defense
Any time someone intentionally breaks, defaces or somehow damages someone else’s personal property without the owner’s permission is criminal mischief. The perpetrator must also have acted with the intent to do damage in a reckless manner or with a conscious disregard for consequences. Criminal mischief encompasses a wide range of activities including spraying graffiti onto a wall, removing a public safety boundary, breaking a window, setting off a public alarm or even putting a virus onto someone’s computer — among other offenses.
Criminal mischief laws tend to differ from state to state, as do the penalties for such a criminal act. If you have been accused of criminal mischief in Texas, then it is in your best interest to contact a Dallas criminal mischief lawyer at the Goolsby Law Firm. Mike Goolsby has been acting as a Texas criminal defense attorney for years, defending residents in the Dallas area on both federal and state charges. Before starting his own law firm, Mike served as the Assistant District Attorney for Dallas County. As a former prosecutor and now defense lawyer, he has a strong understanding of Texas state laws, including criminal mischief and other criminal offenses. He can build a strong defense for you based on solid evidence and will aggressively fight for your rights.
What Is Criminal Mischief in Texas?
Texas Penal Code Section 28.03 states that “criminal mischief” in the state of Texas occurs “when an individual intentionally damages or destroys personal property, tampers with property, causes a loss of inconvenience to the property owner or creates markings of some kind on an owner’s property”. Criminal mischief in Texas only refers to the damage done to someone else’s property — not taking possession of it, if that is what occurs. That is possibly a situation of theft, which is another type of criminal charge. You cannot be accused of criminal mischief in Texas for damaging your own property unless you are a co-owner.
Building a defense for criminal mischief relies heavily on physical evidence and the reliability of any witnesses that might have been present. An experienced Dallas criminal mischief lawyer will be able to examine the evidence and interview any witnesses to ascertain a clearer understanding of what happened and any extenuating circumstances that may be involved in the case. Your lawyer should also investigate the legality of the process police used to find evidence and determine your intentions.
What Are the Penalties for Criminal Mischief in Texas?
The state of Texas can consider criminal mischief to be either a misdemeanor or felony. This determination depends upon what kind of damage was done, the severity of the damage and whether it was done intentionally and/or recklessly. The more significant the damage, the higher the penalties tend to be. However, this determination will vary on a case-by-case basis. Please note that if you have previously committed criminal mischief or damage was done to a public utility or service and the crime put someone at risk of physical injury will increase the severity of penalties as well.
The monetary damage generally determines the severity of the charges. If the damage is:
- Under $100, it is considered a Class C Misdemeanor with a $500 fine.
- Between $100 and $750, it is considered a Class B Misdemeanor with up to 180 days in jail.
- Between $750 and $2,500, it is considered a Class A Misdemeanor with up to a year in jail.
- Between $2,500 and $3,000, it is considered a State Felony with 180 days to 2 years in state jail.
- Between $3,000 and $150,000, it is considered a Third-Degree Felony with 2 to 10 years in prison.
- Between $150,000 and $300,000, it is considered a Second-Degree Felony with 2 to 20 years in prison.
- More than $300,000, it is considered a First-Degree Felony with 5 to 99 years in prison or life.
In some cases, it might be possible to have the charges dismissed in exchange for repair or repayment of the property damage to the owner. Consult with a Dallas criminal mischief lawyer about the specifics of your case to see if this might apply to you.
Call for a Free Consultation From a Dallas Criminal Mischief Lawyer
Whether the damage done is minor or severe, you need to take criminal mischief charges seriously as they can incur fines and jail time. Additionally, you do not need a mark on your record. This can make applying for a job, loan or school much more difficult. Contact The Goolsby Law Firm as soon as possible so Mike and his legal team can begin working on your defense. As a knowledgeable and adept Dallas criminal mischief lawyer, he will create a viable legal strategy and work tirelessly to see that your rights are upheld and protected.
Call for us for a free case review at (972) 394-2141 or contact us online to get started.