Houston Criminal Mischief Lawyer
In Houston, criminal mischief offenses are generally defined as intentionally damaging another person’s property. Types of damage are commonly referred to as destruction, alteration and defacement. Minor actions associated with criminal mischief often include vandalism or graffiti, and more serious actions include the destruction of the property.
Criminal Mischief Houston
According to Tex. Penal Code § 28.03, the following conduct can result in being charged with criminal mischief in Harris County:
- Intentionally or knowingly damaging or destroying another person’s tangible property;
- Intentionally or knowingly tampering with the tangible property of another person and causing financial loss or substantial inconvenience to him or a third person;
- Intentionally or knowingly making markings, including inscriptions, slogans, drawings, or paintings, on the tangible property of another person.
Depending on the value of the destruction or property damage, you could face misdemeanor or felony offense punishment. Section 12 of the Texas Penal Code defines the applicable penalties you may face with a criminal mischief offense:
- Class C Misdemeanor – A fine of up to $500 can be charged to you if the financial loss amounts to less than $100, or causes substantial inconvenience to another being.
- Class B Misdemeanor – A fine of up to $2,000 and/or a jail sentence of up to 180 days can be charged to you if the financial loss amounts to less than $750 but at least $100 or more.
- Class A Misdemeanor – A fine of up to $4,000 and/or a jail sentence of up to one year can be charged to you if the financial loss amounts to less than $2,500 but at least $750, or your criminal mischief offense causes impairment or disruption of any public water supply.
- State Jail Felony – A fine of up to $10,000 and/or a jail sentence ranging from 180 days to two years can be charged to you if the financial loss amounts to less than $30,000 but at least $2,500 or more; less than $2,500 if a home was damaged through the use of an explosion weapon or firearm; less than $2,500 if a fence used to hold livestock, game animals, or poultry was destroyed or damaged; or less than $30,000 if your criminal mischief offense caused the impairment or disruption of public communications, gas power supply, transportation or any other public service.
- Third Degree Felony – A fine of up to $10,000 and/or a jail sentence from two to ten years can be charged to you if the financial loss amounts to less than $150,000 but at least $30,000.
- Second Degree Felony – A fine of up to $10,000 and/or a jail sentence from two to twenty years can be charged to you if the financial loss amounts to less than $300,000 but at least $150,000 or more.
- First Degree Felony – A fine of up to $10,000 and/or a jail sentence from five to 99 years or life imprisonment can be charged to you if the financial loss amounts to $300,000 or more.
Criminal mischief might not seem like a major crime, but the fact that the damages could put peoples’ lives in jeopardy and disrupt public and private property this makes criminal mischief a much more serious offense, especially as the value of damage increases.
Therefore criminal mischief charges should not be taken lightly and it is important to have an experienced and aggressive Houston criminal attorney working with you to build the best possible defense for your case.
If you or a loved one is facing a criminal mischief offense, contact Attorney James (Jim) Sullivan today at (281) 546-6428 to schedule a free confidential consultation.
James Sullivan is an experienced Houston Criminal Defense Attorney. For 25 years, Sullivan has successfully fought the government in Jury Trials on behalf of clients in criminal and juvenile courts.
James Sullivan graduated from the Trial Lawyers College founded by legendary lawyer Gerry Spence. Sullivan has a proven record of defending people from all walks of life, faiths and countries in courts throughout Texas.