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Greenwich First-Degree Criminal Mischief Lawyer

Destruction of property is a serious offense in Greenwich. As the value of the property damage increases, so does the level of charge and the potential penalties. Damage is a broad term, but it is defined as anything that ruins, breaks, or causes an interruption to the ability to use an item.

If you were charged with criminal mischief, you should consult with a Greenwich first-degree criminal mischief lawyer. With the help of a top criminal attorney, you may be able to craft an effective defense against your charges.

What Elevates a Criminal Mischief Charge to the First Degree?

Criminal mischief in the first degree covers a few different areas. One scenario is if somebody damages someone else’s personal property and the damage is in an amount over $1,500.

The other situations include damage to things that are owned or leased by the state of Connecticut. For example, first-degree criminal mischief could be charged if a person is accused of damaging or tampering with a:

  • A utility property
  • Public transportation
  • A power company property
  • Fire alarm or police alarm system
  • Telecommunications or dispatch system

First-degree criminal mischief charges could also stem from interruptions or damages to agencies that provide services to the public.

Legal Penalties

Criminal mischief in the first degree in Greenwich is a Class D felony and has serious consequences. The maximum penalty is five years’ incarceration, a fine of up to $5,000, and probation for up to three years. In some circumstances, probation could be ordered for up to five years. Therefore, defendants should contact a skilled Green first-degree criminal mischief attorney.

Reduced Sentencing and Probation Options

Reduced sentencing or probation options are sometimes offered with this charge. It could be that the only penalty is the guilty plea. It could be the conditional discharge in which the person does not go to jail and is not on probation, but they have to stay out of trouble or maybe stay away from the area that was damaged. There could be a period of probation.

In some cases, especially if the person has a clean criminal record prior to this, they might be eligible for a pretrial diversionary program that could get the whole thing dismissed without a guilty plea. A Greenwich first-degree criminal mischief lawyer could discuss the likely penalties and outcomes based on the facts of your situation.

How Prior Criminal Convictions Affect a Case

Prior criminal convictions could affect an individual charged with first-degree criminal mischief. If someone has a conviction for something in the same property damage genre of crimes, like trespassing, criminal mischief, or burglary, authorities are not going to look upon it favorably. In addition, if somebody has a felony conviction, it is never helpful. The most harmful kind of conviction would be something that is similar to the crime that they are charged with.

How the Prosecution Establishes Intent

In a first-degree criminal mischief case, the prosecutor tries to show specific intent. Often, they do that by showing how forcefully something was broken or looking at the surrounding circumstances. For example, if a wife has broken her husband’s computer, they might look to see if they were involved in an argument or if he has broken something of hers. If there is video or surveillance footage, they might be able to look at that to see how aggressive or forceful the person is when causing the damage.

In this scenario, a skilled defense attorney could work to contest the prosecution’s evidence. The defense attorney might be able to show their own evidence that the situation was an accident or that the person did not mean to cause the damage.

Reach Out to a Greenwich First-Degree Criminal Mischief Attorney

If you are facing allegations of vandalism or destruction of property, you could benefit from the services of a Greenwich first-degree criminal mischief lawyer. As the best attorneys know, a criminal conviction could have long-term consequences beyond the legal penalties. For help crafting a defense and working towards an optimum outcome in your case, call a lawyer today.