Darien Criminal Mischief Lawyer
The term “criminal mischief” may sound like it could refer to some type of mildly improper behavior, but the truth is just the opposite. Criminal mischief commonly refers to a set of four criminal statutes in Connecticut, all prohibiting behavior that causes damage to property.
If you were charged with criminal mischief, contact a top Darien criminal mischief lawyer today. An experienced attorney could help fight for a positive outcome to your case.
What is the Definition of Criminal Mischief under Connecticut Law?
Under Connecticut General Statute § 53a-115, a person can be charged with Criminal Mischief if they cause damage to property. Connecticut laws define four different degrees of criminal mischief with penalties that vary based on the severity of the offense. One element these crimes often share is that they typically require an individual to be acting with a certain state of mind—that is, the intention to cause damage.
Criminal mischief offenses may also be charged as a felony which could incur multiple years in prison, so retaining a skilled lawyer is critical to both your criminal case and your future.
Understanding Criminal Mischief Charges in Darien
Overall, criminal mischief could be defined as causing deliberate damage to the tangible property of another, or intentionally tampering with public utilities, or another public service, or safety equipment. Some specific statutes may allow for a conviction in a situation where someone is acting “recklessly,” or with negligent use of a harmful, or destructive substance, or force such as fire, or explosives.
First and Second-Degree Criminal Mischief Offenses
Criminal mischief in the first and second degrees are the most serious versions of this offense. When someone intentionally damages the property of another person, entity, or the government and the damage is valued at more than $1,500, the offense may be considered first-degree criminal mischief.
According to CGS § 53a-116, Second-degree criminal mischief occurs when a person’s intentional actions cause between $250 and $1,500 of damage, or if someone tampers with public safety, or utility, or transportation equipment in a way that causes a risk of service disruption (without any disruption actually occurring).
What are the Penalties for First and Second Degree Criminal Mischief in Connecticut?
First-degree Criminal Mischief charges are considered a felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. If someone intentionally causes interference to public transportation, public utilities, or telecommunications by tampering with equipment, their actions could also be considered criminal mischief in the first-degree according to CGS §53a-115.
Second-degree criminal mischief is generally treated as a class A misdemeanor. This offense may incur the maximum penalties of up to one year of incarceration and a fine as high as $2,000.
Less Serious Criminal Mischief Arrests
Cases of third-degree or fourth-degree criminal mischief frequently involve situations where someone intentionally or recklessly damages the property of another, but causes no more than $250 in damage, or tampers with the property of another and thereby places it in danger of damage.
Criminal mischief in the third degree is a class B misdemeanor. Those convicted may face up to six months of imprisonment and a fine of up to $1,000, as stated in CGS §53a-117.
Fourth-degree criminal mischief is a class C misdemeanor punishable by no more than three months in jail and a $500 fine.
Talk to a Top Darien Criminal Mischief Attorney Today
In addition to potential fines and imprisonment, a conviction on charges of criminal mischief may create a criminal record that could negatively impact your life far into the future.
Contact our top Darien criminal mischief lawyers today to discuss your case and learn about effective legal defenses.