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What it Means to be Charged with Vandalism (Criminal Mischief) in New York State

Anyone charged with “criminal mischief,” in relation to an act of vandalism, should know their rights under New York Law.

In New York State, anyone accused of the act of vandalism will likely be charged with “criminal mischief.” Under the statute, a person accused of vandalism can be charged with Criminal Mischief in the First, Second, Third or Fourth degree, for damaging another person or entity’s property.

 

The severity of the charges of criminal mischief usually depends on the act and the extent of the damage that was done. Most forms of graffiti would be classified as a lesser offense (misdemeanors), while more aggressive forms of destruction may result in felony charges and more dire consequences, if convicted. The severity of the charges are mainly based on the total value of the damage that was done.

 

The following is a breakdown of the different types of criminal mischief charges in New York State, as well as the penalties one could face if convicted of criminal mischief:

 

Criminal Mischief in the First Degree

 

An individual may be charged with Criminal Mischief in the First Degree if they have knowingly destroyed another person’s property through the use of explosives. It is a Class B felony, which means that it is punishable by 5-25 years in state prison and fines.

 

Criminal Mischief in the Second Degree

 

An individual may be charged with Criminal Mischief in the Second Degree if they have intentionally destroyed another person’s property in an amount of at least $1,500. This is classified as a Class D felony, which means that it is punishable by up to 5 years in state prison and fines.

 

Criminal Mischief in the Third Degree

 

An individual may be charged with Criminal Mischief in the Third Degree if they have intentionally destroyed another person’s property in an amount of between $250 and $1,500. This is classified as a Class E felony, which is punishable by up to 4 years in state prison and a fine.

 

Criminal Mischief in the Fourth Degree

 

An individual may be charged with Criminal mischief in the Fourth Degree if they have intentionally destroyed personal property; recklessly destroyed another person’s property in an amount up to $250; intentionally participated in the destruction of an abandoned building; and/or prevented a person from communicating a request for emergency assistance by intentionally disabling or removing telephonic, TTY or similar communication sending equipment while that person is attempting to seek or is engaged in the process of seeking emergency assistance. This is a Class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine.

If you or someone you know has been charged with Criminal Mischief, contact Robert S. Gershon for a consultation as your earliest   convenience.
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