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New Canaan Second-Degree Criminal Mischief Lawyer

If you were arrested for vandalism in New Canaan, you should reach out to an experienced attorney. A New Canaan second-degree criminal mischief lawyer can help you craft a strong defense.

What is Criminal Mischief in the Second Degree?

A second-degree criminal mischief charge occurs anytime someone intentionally causes damage to the tangible property of another person without reasonable grounds to believe they have the right to cause the damage. Additionally, the value of the damage must be over $250 but less than $1,500. If the property damage is less than that, then a person should be charged with a lesser crime. If the property exceeds $1,500, a person can be charged with felony criminal mischief.

There is another subsection of the statute that says second-degree criminal mischief occurs when someone intentionally interrupts or impairs a service rendered to the public and has no reasonable grounds to believe they have the right to do so.

What Does it Mean to Interrupt or Impair a Service?

Interrupting or impairing a public service occurs when a defendant tampers or interrupts a public service or damages public property. This could be a public utility, public transportation, power, or communications equipment. Notably, intent is an element of this offense. To be charged with second-degree criminal mischief, the person must have intended to cause this disruption.

How Does the State Prove Intent?

To prove the intent of the defendant, the State of Connecticut introduces evidence showing that the defendant caused damage, they knew what they were doing, and they knew that they did not have a right to cause the damage to the property.

Because intent can be difficult to prove, this element may open up opportunities for a strong defense.

Potential Penalties and Long-Term Consequences

When police believe an individual has committed second-degree criminal mischief, the accused will usually be arrested and charged in Norwalk court. Upon conviction, they could be sentenced to up to one year in prison. In addition, they may face heavy fines and probation.

However, the most impactful consequence of a conviction is often the creation of a criminal record. A criminal mischief charge could follow someone for life, and a criminal record is visible to future employers, landlords, or educational institutions in background checks.

How Can a Past Conviction Impact a Case?

Prior criminal convictions can affect an individual charged with second-degree criminal mischief because it becomes less likely that they will be able to get their charges dropped without a guilty plea. Anytime someone has a prior criminal record and they pick up a new case, the likelihood of them needing to plead guilty or facing jail time increases.

The type of past criminal conviction does matter. If the conviction was for a similar crime, it makes it more likely that the State of Connecticut will want another guilty plea. If it was a very different crime such as a DUI, it may not have a significant impact on the new case.

Reach Out to a New Canaan Second-Degree Criminal Mischief Attorney

If you were charged with damaging private or public property, you should not risk handling your case without representation. Even a misdemeanor conviction can do serious damage to your reputation. For help working towards a positive resolution of your case, reach out to a New Canaan second-degree criminal mischief attorney today.