Vandalism, graffiti, or any willful damage to the property of another party can lead to an alleged offender being charged with the offense of criminal mischief. While this crime can be classified as a misdemeanor, certain cases involving substantial damage or other specified forms or property can lead to a person facing felony charges.
In addition to possible incarceration and fines, a conviction for criminal mischief can have an extremely damaging effect on an alleged offender’s ability to obtain employment, housing, or professional licenses. Minors accused of this crime can also experience hardships being accepted to colleges or universities.
Lawyer for Criminal Mischief Arrests in Brooksville, FL
Were you or your child recently arrested in Central Florida for an alleged act of criminal mischief? You will want to contact Ashley M. Aulls, P.A. as soon as possible for help achieving the most favorable outcome to your case.
Ashley Aulls is an experienced criminal defense attorney in Brooksville who represents clients accused of property crimes in Inverness, Spring Hill, Wildwood, Brooksville, Weeki Wachee, New Port Richey, and several surrounding communities in the greater Hernando County area. Call (352) 593-4115 to have our lawyer provide a full evaluation of your case during a free initial consultation.
Overview of Criminal Mischief Offenses in Florida
- When can a person face felony charges for a criminal mischief offense?
- What are the consequences of a criminal mischief conviction?
- Where can I find more information about criminal mischief in Brooksville?
Florida Statute § 806.13 establishes that a person commits criminal mischief if he or she willfully and maliciously injures or damages by any means any real or personal property belonging to another, including, but not limited to, the placement of graffiti thereon or other acts of vandalism thereto. The grading of criminal mischief crimes is generally determined by the amount of damage caused by the alleged offense.
- Second-degree misdemeanor if the damage to property is $200 or less;
- First-degree misdemeanor if the damage to property is greater than $200 but less than $1,000; or
- Third-degree felony if the damage to property is $1,000 or greater, if there is interruption or impairment of a business operation or public communication, transportation, supply of water, gas or power, or other public service which costs $1,000 or more in labor and supplies to restore, or if the alleged offender has been previously convicted of criminal mischief.
Damage to certain types of property can also result in third-degree felony charges. Specific offenses that can lead to such charges include:
- Willfully and maliciously defacing, injuring, or damaging by any means any church, synagogue, mosque, or other place of worship, or any religious article contained therein, if the damage to the property is greater than $200;
- Without the consent of the owner, willfully destroying or substantially damaging any public telephone, or telephone cables, wires, fixtures, antennas, amplifiers, or any other apparatus, equipment, or appliances, when such destruction or damage renders a public telephone inoperative or which opens the body of a public telephone, provided that a conspicuous notice of the provisions of this subsection and the penalties provided is posted on or near the destroyed or damaged instrument and visible to the public at the time of the commission of the offense; and
- Willfully and maliciously defacing, injuring, or damaging by any means a sexually violent predator detention or commitment facility, or any property contained therein.
If an alleged offender is convicted of criminal mischief, the possible sentence depends on the grade of the crime. The statutory maximums are as follows:
- Second-Degree Misdemeanor — Up to 60 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $500;
- First-Degree Misdemeanor — Up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000; or
- Third-Degree Felony — Up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000.
In addition to the possible consequences outlined above, alleged offenders can also be ordered to pay restitution for the damages caused by such offense. If a criminal mischief charge is specifically related to the placement of graffiti, an alleged offender can also be required to perform at least 40 hours of community service and, if possible, perform at least 100 hours of community service that involves the removal of graffiti.
Graffiti-related criminal mischief offenses also involve minimum fines that are established as follows under Florida Statute § 806.13(6)(a):
- Not less than $250 for a first conviction;
- Not less than $500 for a second conviction; or
- Not less than $1,000 for a third or subsequent conviction.
Florida Statute § 806.13 — View the full text of the state law relating to criminal mischief. You can learn more about the various penalties for minors charged with this crime. The statute also addresses the impact of ordinances by municipalities and counties prohibiting graffiti and graffiti-related offenses.
JRS v. State, 569 So. 2d 1323 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1990) — On November 8, 1990, the First District Court of Appeal reversed the finding that the 15-year-old appellant in this case had committed criminal mischief. The appellant got into an argument with his mother one morning, left for school, and did not return home. His family reported him as missing, but the appellant reentered his locked home by "jimmying" a sliding glass door at the rear of the house the next morning. In reversing the order adjudicating appellant guilty of criminal mischief and trespass, the Court of Appeals wrote:
We conclude that the facts in this case do not constitute the offense of criminal mischief. The state failed to establish the element of malice, i.e., that appellant acted from actual ill will or resentment toward his parents as owners of the allegedly damaged property. In addition, the state agrees that appellant was found guilty of and adjudicated for the offense of criminal mischief only, and that the ambiguity in the order should be corrected to reflect that fact.
Ashley M. Aulls, P.A. | Brooksville Criminal Mischief Lawyer
If you or your child was arrested for alleged criminal mischief in Central Florida, it is in your best interest to immediately retain legal counsel. Ashley M. Aulls, P.A. defends clients all over Citrus County, Sumter County, Pasco County, and Hernando County.
Brooksville criminal defense attorney Ashley Aulls can fight to possibly get these charges reduced or dismissed. He can review your case and answer all of your legal questions as soon as you call (352) 593-4115 or complete an online contact form today to take advantage of a free, confidential consultation.