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Criminal Mischief

Criminal Defense Attorney in Monmouth County, New Jersey

In New Jersey, “criminal mischief” is a type of offense that involves the damage or destruction of property. These crimes, often referred to as “vandalism,” are highly variable in terms of the seriousness of the charges and accompanying penalties. The degree of a charge for criminal mischief is contingent upon several influential factors, including the nature of the property damaged or destroyed, the estimated value of damage incurred, and whether or not the offense caused injury to another person. However, any conviction for criminal mischief may result in a charge on your criminal record, significant fines, community service, restitution payments to the property owner, and even a jail sentence. In order to effectively combat these allegations, it is essential to have an experienced and knowledgeable legal advocate on your side.

Attorney Tara Breslow takes a unique and individualized approach to criminal defense by limiting the number of matters that she handles in order to provide the utmost attention to each and every one of her clients. When presented with your case, she will conduct a thorough investigation, educate you about the charges you are facing, explain your options, and ensure that you are in a position to make the most informed decision. With a commitment to fostering dynamic, interactive client relationships, Ms. Breslow has achieved thousands of successes in courts throughout Monmouth County on behalf of adults and juveniles. Her clients credit her with being more than just an attorney. In fact, she has been called a “Guardian Angel.” To discuss your case with Ms. Breslow free of charge, contact her offices in Monmouth County today.

Criminal Mischief Lawyer in Freehold NJ

The New Jersey law regarding criminal mischief is outlined in section N.J.S.A. 2C:17-3 of the New Jersey Criminal Code. According to this statute, a person commits criminal mischief if he or she purposely or knowingly damages the tangible property of another or damages the tangible property of another recklessly or negligently in the employment of fire, explosives or other dangerous means. A person is also guilty of criminal mischief if he or she purposely, knowingly or recklessly tampers with the tangible property of another so as to endanger a person or property, including the damaging or destroying of a rental premises by a tenant in retaliation for institution of eviction proceedings. There are a vast array of circumstances under which criminal mischief can occur. For instance, these crimes can involve graffiti; tampering with public services such oil or gas; damaging or tampering with means of public transportation, tampering or otherwise damaging a grave site, or causing damage to a research facility.

Penalties for Criminal Mischief in New Jersey

As mentioned previously, there are multiple determinants of the degree of charges for criminal mischief. These include: the type of property damaged, destroyed, or tampered with; the monetary loss associated with the offense; and the resulting (or lack thereof) injury to a person or persons involved in the crime. The following is a list that delineates the varying degrees of criminal mischief charges, as well as the requirements for and the penalties associated with each.

Criminal Mischief as a Disorderly Persons Offense

When an act of criminal mischief results in property damage amounting to $500 or less, the defendant is charged with a disorderly persons offense. These offenses are punishable by a sentence to serve up to 6 months in the county jail, a fine of up to $1,000, a charge on the defendant’s criminal record, restitution payments to the property owner, and community service.

Fourth Degree Criminal Mischief

When an act of criminal mischief results in property damage amounting to between $500 and $2,000, or if the offense results in damage to an aviation facility, airport, landing field, air traffic device; gas, oil, or water pipes; or telephone wires, the defendant is charged with a fourth degree crime. These offenses are punishable by a sentence to serve up to 18 months in New Jersey State Prison, a fine of up to $10,000, a felony charge on the defendant’s criminal record, restitution payments to the property owner, and community service.

Third Degree Criminal Mischief

When an act of criminal mischief results in property damage amounting to $2,000 or more, or if the offense results in the substantial interruption of a public utility or communication system; the disruption or damage of property at a research facility; damage or destruction of a grave, crypt, or mausoleum; or the bodily injury of another person, the defendant is charged with a third degree crime. These offenses are punishable by a sentence to serve between 3 and 5 years in New Jersey State Prison, a fine of up to $15,000, a felony charge on the defendant’s criminal record, restitution payments to the property owner, and community service.

Second Degree Criminal Mischief

When an act of criminal mischief results in the impairment of a public service and this interruption causes the death of another person, the defendant is charged with a second degree crime. These offenses are punishable by a sentence to serve between 5 and 10 years in New Jersey State Prison, a fine of up to $150,000, a felony charge on the defendant’s criminal record, restitution payments to the property owner, and community service. 

Criminal Mischief Involving Graffiti

When an act of criminal mischief involves graffiti, mandatory community service requirements are applied. In addition to the potential jail sentence, fines, and restitution payments to the property owner, the defendant is required to perform a minimum of 20 days community service, which includes time spent to remove the graffiti from the property.

Contact a Neptune NJ Criminal Mischief Lawyer for a Free Consultation

If you or someone you love has been charged with a crime such as criminal mischief, trespassing, or burglary, contact the Law Offices of Tara Breslow today to learn about your legal options. Having defended clients accused of these and other crimes in Red Bank, Freehold, Neptune, and Monmouth County, New Jersey, Ms. Breslow is thoroughly prepared to begin building your best defense.