Connecticut First-Degree Criminal Mischief Lawyer
Were you arrested for damaging property or tampering with a public utility? Contact a Connecticut first-degree criminal mischief lawyer for help with your case.
What is Criminal Mischief in the First Degree in CT?
Criminal mischief in the first degree occurs when a person damages the tangible property of another person in an amount exceeding $1,500. This offense also occurs when someone acts with the intent to cause an interruption or impairment of services rendered to the public and without reasonable grounds to believe they have the right to do so. This includes tampering with tangible property of a public utility, mode of public transportation, or tower communication system.
What are the Penalties for First-Degree Criminal Mischief?
Criminal mischief in the first degree is a Class D felony punishable by up to five years in prison, up to a $5,000 fine, up to three years probation, and a permanent felony conviction record.
An experienced criminal mischief lawyer may be able to argue for reduced penalties with mitigation material. This might be material that is in defense of the accused’s actions or in defense of any damage. If someone committed criminal mischief while they were under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and they have an underlying addiction problem, undergoing treatment may help during sentencing.
Another way that an attorney can argue for subdued penalties is by negotiating with the state’s attorney. This is sometimes more effective than asking for lesser penalties at sentencing. If the defense lawyer is able to negotiate a lower sentence with the state’s attorney, it can be agreed upon and the judge can put it into place. This also requires showing mitigation documents and information about a defendant and their life outside of this case.
Is There a Mandatory Minimum Sentence for First-Degree Criminal Mischief?
No. First-degree criminal mischief charges do not carry a mandatory minimum jail sentence, so a person can be found guilty of this charge and be sentenced to no time in prison. If a person is not sentenced to jail, they may have to do probation instead or pay a higher fine.
Is Intent an Element of Criminal Mischief in the First Degree?
Yes. The prosecution looks for any evidence demonstrating that the person knew what they were doing or intentionally damaged the property. However, it can be difficult to prove the defendant’s mindset. This provides skilled attorneys with opportunities to contest the case against the defendant.
For example, the defense attorney may argue that a person was under the influence of a substance, so they did not intentionally. Sometimes, the damage that occurred was an accident or happened during the commission of another act. If the judge or the state’s attorney agree with this argument, they may be willing to drop the charges or agree to lower the charge.
How Do Prior Convictions Affect a Criminal Mischief Case?
A prior criminal conviction can negatively affect an individual charged with first-degree criminal mischief by making it less likely that the case will be dropped without a guilty plea. If a person had a prior criminal conviction, they are likely ineligible for a court-run diversionary program. However, the type of previous conviction matters. If it was a serious felony conviction, for example, it may be helpful to try to avoid trial.
Contact a Connecticut First-Degree Criminal Mischief Attorney
Criminal mischief in the first-degree is a serious felony offense in Connecticut. Because the penalties can include jail time and seriously damage your reputation, it is wise to retain experienced legal counsel. A Connecticut first-degree criminal mischief lawyer could carefully scrutinize the evidence against you and try to poke holes in the prosecution’s case. Call Mark Sherman Law for a consultation.