Building a Criminal Mischief Defense in Darien
If you were accused of damaging another’s property, do not leave your case to chance. Contact a top Darien defense attorney for help building a criminal mischief defense.
What Determines the Level of a Criminal Mischief Charge?
The level of a criminal mischief charge depends on the monetary value of the damage done to the property. If someone destroys or damages something worth more than $1,500, they will be charged with criminal mischief in the first degree, a felony offense. However, if someone destroys something worth less than $250, the charged will be criminal mischief in the third degree.
The value of the property determined by what the owner tells the police the value was at the time it was damaged or destroyed. In some cases, a Darien attorney can use that fact to their advantage and provide evidence to the prosecutor that the value of the property was overestimated. For example, the criminal mischief lawyer could seek out an independent assessment of the property or find the value in other ways. They may find for sale listings of similar items and use them to show that the value has diminished since the owner purchased it. If this tactic is successful, the prosecutor may reduce the degree of the criminal mischief charge, and the victim may owe less in restitution.
What Evidence is Used in Criminal Mischief Cases?
Often, someone destroying property will be caught on camera by an electronic surveillance device. After reviewing the footage, the police use it as evidence to seek a warrant to arrest someone for criminal mischief.
However, surveillance footage can also provide evidence of innocence in some cases, or it can raise doubts about the identity of the perpetrator. Security cameras may erase footage over time, however, so it is important to take quick action. An experienced lawyer can preserve electronic surveillance evidence in a criminal mischief case by filing a motion with the court. The lawyer can also send out preservation letters to the owner of the footage, such as a place of business, asking that it preserve the video until the court rules on the motion. Once the court approves the motion, they would forward it to the police and the business owner.
Surveillance evidence can play an important role in building a criminal mischief defense. It may show that the accused did not commit the crime, or it may show that there was no intent to damage property.
Let a Darien Criminal Mischief Attorney Help You Build a Defense
Criminal mischief charges in Darien are heard in the Stamford Superior Court, and there are a lot of nuances in the system. Experienced Darien attorneys know the local judges and prosecutors well, and they understand how to navigate the court system. For help building a defense to your Darien criminal mischief charges, reach out to a top attorney at Mark Sherman Law.