Fighting Criminal Mischief Charges
Criminal mischief is considered a property crime in Texas. Though the most common types of criminal mischief cases are lower level misdemeanors, they can be charged as high-level felonies depending on the level of damage done to the property. No matter if charged as a misdemeanor or felony it is important to have an experienced attorney on your side to guide you in your defense and fight for you every step of the process.
At Hildreth & Rueda, in Austin, Texas, we have been defending individuals charged with felonies and misdemeanors for over 20 years. We will work towards providing you the strongest possible defense in your criminal mischief case.
What Is Criminal Mischief?
There are a few different reasons you could be facing a criminal mischief charge, under Texas criminal law. Any of the following would be fall under criminal mischief:
- Intentionally or knowingly damaged someone else’s property
- Intentionally or knowingly tampering with someone else’s property causing loss or substantial inconvenience
- Intentionally making marks, graffiti, inscriptions or drawings on the property of another
There are several classifications of criminal mischief depending on the circumstances of the offense and the value of damage done to the property.
Class C Misdemeanor Criminal Mischief
Your criminal mischief charge may be a Class C misdemeanor if the damage done is valued at less than $50 or causes a substantial inconvenience to others. Class C misdemeanors are punishable by a $500 fine and no jail time.
Class B Misdemeanor Criminal Mischief
Punishable by up to 180 days in jail and fines reaching $2,000, your criminal mischief charge could be a Class B misdemeanor if the damage done is valued at more than $50 but less than $500.
Class A Misdemeanor Criminal Mischief
You could be facing class A criminal mischief charges if the damage done is valued at more than $500 and less than $1,500, or if the criminal mischief act results in damage less than $1,500 and causes an impairment of interruption of public communications, public transportation, gas, or power or any other public service, or if the mischief causes any impairment or interruption of the public water supply. Class A misdemeanors are punishable by up to one year in jail and fines of up to $4,000.
State Jail Felony — Criminal Mischief In Texas
The State Jail Felony classification is applied in cases where the criminal mischief damage is valued at:
- Between $1,500 to $20,000
- Less than $1,500 and the property is a habitation where damaged is done by fire or explosion
- Less than $1,500 and the property was a fence designed to keep livestock or game animals in
State Jail Felonies are punishable by up to 180 days to two years in state jail and fines reaching $10,000.
Third-Degree Felony Criminal Mischief
Your criminal mischief charge could be a third-degree felony if the damage done is valued at $20,000 to $100,000. 3rd degree felonies are punishable by two to 10 years in prison and fines of $10,000.
Second-Degree Felony Criminal Mischief
Second-degree felony criminal mischief is applicable in cases where the damage is valued at $100,000 to $200,000. This offense is punishable by two to 20 years in prison and fines of $10,000.
First-Degree Felony Criminal Mischief
A criminal mischief charge could be classified as a first-degree felony if the value of damage done is more than $200,000. This offense carries a potential sentence of five to 99 years in prison and fines reaching $10,000.