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New Canaan Fourth-Degree Criminal Mischief Lawyer

Even misdemeanor vandalism charges can result in serious penalties and a permanent criminal record. For help raising a powerful defense, reach out to a New Canaan fourth-degree criminal mischief lawyer.

What is Criminal Mischief in the Fourth Degree?

A person is guilty of criminal mischief in the fourth degree when they intentionally or recklessly damage or tamper with property without reasonable grounds to believe they have the right to do so. In order for the charge to be fourth-degree criminal mischief, the property in question must fall into specific categories, including:

  • A fire hydrant or hydrant system owned by the state or local fire department
  • Tangible property owned by the state or local police department
  • Fire alarms, smoke detection alarms, fire suppressants, etc.

Notably, fourth-degree criminal mischief does not require intent. This means someone could accidentally cause damage by reckless behavior and still be convicted of this crime. Additionally, tampering alone is grounds for a fourth-degree criminal mischief charge, such as pulling a fire alarm.

What are the Penalties for Fourth-Degree Criminal Mischief?

Fourth-degree criminal mischief is a Class C misdemeanor offense with maximum penalties of three months in prison, a $500 fine, and one year of probation. Additionally, a conviction creates a criminal record that can follow someone for life.

Can a Lawyer Help Minimize the Consequences?

Yes. An attorney can be a great help in lessening the consequences of a criminal mischief charge. The court has the discretion to reduce the sentence, the charges, or offer probation in these cases. It is up to the defendant’s lawyer to argue in favor of an alternate sentence, such as community service or probation, instead of jail time.

What is the Impact of Prior Convictions on Criminal Mischief Sentencing?

Prior criminal convictions can have an impact on the outcome of a fourth-degree criminal mischief case. For repeat offenders, it is less likely that the State Attorney will be agreeable to dropping the charge or dismissing it without any sort of guilty plea. If someone has a past conviction for criminal mischief, it is unlikely that the State will drop the charge if they are able to prove it.

However, the type of criminal conviction does matter. If someone is convicted of a non-violent crime or infraction in the past, it will not necessarily affect the present case. If they are convicted of something completely unrelated, it will most likely mean that they are still eligible for a Court Diversionary Program that can result in the dismissal of the criminal mischief charge.

Contact a New Canaan Fourth-Degree Criminal Mischief Attorney

If you were arrested for tampering with a fire hydrant or alarm, you should not risk appearing in court without representation. A conviction could mean a permanent criminal record visible to future employers, landlords, educational institutions, and lenders. For help with your defense, call a New Canaan fourth-degree criminal mischief attorney at Mark Sherman Law.