If you have intentionally or knowingly damaged or destroyed someone else’s personal property, whether it’s breaking a lawn ornament or keying a car, you can find yourself facing long term criminal charges known as criminal mischief.
Criminal Mischief in New Jersey (N.J.S.A. 2C:17-3)
Criminal mischief in New Jersey is a crime against someone else’s property. When one purposely damages another’s property, or creates a situation of danger that jeopardizes someone else or their property, a criminal mischief charge is likely to follow. Depending on the monetary value of damage done, a criminal mischief charge in New Jersey could be either a 3rd or 4th degree crime. Both of these are very serious charges, and can be damaging to an individual’s future employment and property rental prospects.
Penalties for Criminal Mischief
The amount of damage actually committed is the determining factor in whether a perpetrator gets a slap on the wrist or locked up. For any damage done amounting to under $500, the charge will be a disorderly persons offense. This can also be punishable with up to 6 months in prison, but with experienced legal counsel, a 6 month prison sentence is not likely. For damage totaling anywhere from $500-$2,000, the charge is a 4th degree crime. This can land a violator in prison for 18 months and result in fines of up to $10,000. For instances with damages in excess of $2,000, the crime is one of the 3rd degree. A 3rd degree crime in New Jersey can put one behind bars for 3-5 years as well as demand a fine of up to $15,000. As you can see, criminal mischief is a serious charge. However, with experienced legal counsel, you may be able to downgrade these charges.
When faced with a criminal mischief charge, call Villani & DeLuca, P.C. as soon as possible! Our attorneys will personally review the facts surrounding your case and provide the most capable and effective legal defense. Call 732-820-1256 today for a FREE consultation.