Summer at the Jersey Shore presents countless opportunities for fun—and opportunities for trouble as well. Picture a situation in which a couple of friends decide to “tag,” also known as draw graffiti, on the side of a Belmar bar establishment. These individuals would likely face criminal mischief charges. A person may be charged with criminal mischief when they cause damage to someone’s property, including graffiti, tampering with gas or water mains, tampering with a grave or crypt, or tampering with research facilities. Behavior falling under the term “criminal mischief” may result in disorderly persons charges. Penalties increase as the value of damage done increases. The circumstances of each particular case of mischief will determine the charges and penalties for someone under N.J.S.A. 2C:17-3.
Because the circumstances surrounding each case determine what kinds of penalties may be imposed, you will need to speak to a criminal defense attorney if you have been charged with criminal mischief. If you have been charged with criminal mischief in Belmar, or any of the surrounding areas in Monmouth County, you should call Villani & DeLuca P.C., where the attorneys have over 20 years’ experience handling these kinds of matters in our Jersey Shore area.
N.J.S.A. 2C:17-3 Criminal Mischief
Criminal mischief is defined in N.J.S.A. 2C:17-3:
1. Purposely or knowingly damages tangible property of another or damages tangible property of another recklessly or negligently in the employment of fire, explosives or other dangerous means listed in subsection a. of N.J.S.A 2C:17-2; or
2. Purposely, knowingly or recklessly tampers with tangible property of another so as to endanger person or property, including the damaging or destroying of a rental premises by a tenant in retaliation for institution of eviction proceedings.
The “grading” section of the statute enumerates the penalties for varying levels of criminal mischief.
Penalties Associated with Criminal Mischief
Depending on the value of the loss, the offender may face disorderly persons charges, a fourth degree crime charge, or a third degree crime charge. Below, find an overview of penalties assigned to individuals guilty of criminal mischief:
- Disorderly persons charge: Damage is valued at less than $500
- Fine not exceeding $1,000 or double the monetary value loss (whichever is higher)
- Up to 6 months of possible jail time
- Fourth Degree Crime: Damage is valued between $500-$2,000
- Fine not exceeding $10,000 or double the monetary value loss (whichever is higher)
- Up to 18 months in prison and possible restitution to the victim
- Third Degree Crime: Damage is valued over $2,000
- Fine not exceeding $15,000 or double the monetary value loss (whichever is higher)
- Up to 3-5 years in prison and possible restitution to the victim
Defending Criminal Mischief Charges in Belmar
If you are defending a disorderly persons criminal mischief charges in Belmar, you will report to the Belmar Borough Municipal Court located at 601 Main Street, Belmar NJ 07719. You may contact the court at (732) 681-3700 between the hours of 9AM and 4:30PM. A third or fourth degree crime will be held in New Jersey Superior Court – Monmouth County, located in Freehold.
Belmar, New Jersey Municipal Court
601 Main Street
Belmar, NJ 07719