Criminal Defense Attorney
Start Your Free Consultation Now 321.248.7742
We Fight For Your Freedom

Melbourne Criminal Mischief Lawyer

Florida Criminal Mischief Laws

Criminal mischief is a property crime and most is most often confused with being an offense that is specific to juveniles. While youths and young adults are the most common criminal mischief offenders, the crime itself has nothing to do with age. The most common example of criminal mischief is vandalism, but the crime actually includes all types of willful and malicious destruction of another person’s property.

While criminal mischief may seem like a minor crime, a conviction could result in serious consequences that could be life altering. The attorney at Law Offices of Bryan J. McCarthy is a dedicated Florida criminal defense lawyer who aggressively defends the rights of his clients charged with property crimes, theft crimes, and even violent crimes, throughout Melbourne, Florida.

He takes cases in Brevard County, and in areas like: Orange County, Seminole, Indian River, County, County, Volusia County, and Osceola County, FL. If you or your minor child has been charged with criminal mischief, contact Law Offices of Bryan J. McCarthy.

Call (321) 253-3447 to schedule a free, no obligations, consultation with our experienced criminal defense attorney.

Definition of Criminal Mischief under Fla. Stat. § 806.13

In order to convict an individual of criminal mischief, the State of Florida must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the defendant willfully and maliciously damaged real or personal property that belonged to someone else.

Some examples of Criminal Mischief Include:

  • Purposefully breaking windows;
  • Destruction of Private Property;
  • Destroying Public Property;
  • Defacing Statutes or damaging a public park;
  • Vandalism;
  • Graffiti;
  • Damaging or defacing religious artifacts such as churches, synagogues, or other religious monuments.

Felony & Misdemeanor Penalties for Criminal Mischief

The penalties for criminal mischief may be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the value of the property that the alleged offender damaged.

Misdemeanor Charges:

  • If the property is $200 or less, then the criminal mischief will be charged as a second-degree misdemeanor. Second-degree misdemeanors are punishable by up to sixty (60) days in jail and up to $500 fines.
  • If the property damaged is less than $1,000, then the charge is a first-degree misdemeanor. First-degree misdemeanors are punishable by up to 364 days in jail and up to $1,000 fines.

Felony Charges:

Misdemeanor charges may apply if the criminal mischief is a first offense, but if the defendant has one or more previous criminal mischief violations, then the charge may be reclassified as a felony.

If criminal mischief is charge as a felony, then the state of Florida will likely charge it as a third-degree felony. Felony criminal mischief is charged if any of the following apply:

  • the property damaged amounts to $1,000 or greater;
  • the damage interrupts or impairs a business operation, public communication, transportation, supply of water, power, or gas worth $1,000 or more;
  • a person defaces or destroys, by any means, a church, synagogue, mosque, or another place of worship, or any religious article inside; or
  • a person defaces or damages any public telephone, cables, antennas, amplifiers, or any device for which destruction would render the telephone inoperable or any person damages or defaces a sexually violent predator facility.

Third-degree felonies are punishable by up to five (5) years in prison and up to $1,000 fines. The fines for criminal mischief do not include any order to pay for the value of the damaged property.

Minors and Criminal Mischief

When a minor is caught tagging property or damaging it in any way, Florida law holds the minor’s parents and guardians accountable, along with the minor, to pay the fines. Generally, crimes such as criminal mischief are argued in Juvenile court.

If the court finds that a minor or his or her parent or legal guardian is unable to pay the fines associated with criminal mischief charges, then it may make an exception.

If the minor’s driver’s license is already suspended for any reason, then the court will order the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to extend the suspension for an additional year.

Additional Resources - Florida Statute § 806.13 – Visit the Florida Senate, the official website of the Florida Legislature for the full statutory language associated with Criminal Mischief and the potential consequences of being convicted.

The Law Offices of Bryan J. McCarthy Mischief Legal Counsel

If you or your minor child has been charged with criminal mischief in violation of Florida Statute § 806.13, then contact the experienced criminal defense attorney at Law Offices of Bryan J. McCarthy.

Our lawyer is a zealous advocate who is dedicated for fighting for the rights of criminal defendants throughout Melbourne, FL, and in courtrooms throughout the area. We take cases in Volusia County, Seminole County, Osceola County, Indian River County and Orange County, FL.

Call Law Offices of Bryan J. McCarthy at (321) 248-7742now for a free, confidential, consultation about the facts of your case.

This article was last updated on Friday, October 13, 2017.