Criminal damage to property is divided into four categories. The level of the charge will depend upon whether there was bodily harm that occurred during the commission of the crime or whether value of property declined because of the act. Damaging public property or racial, religious or sexual bias can also impact the severity of the charge.
The four degrees are as follows:
First degree — There was a foreseeable and reasonable risk of bodily harm, the property belonged to a common carrier, the property value was reduced by $1,000, or the violator had a prior conviction and reduced the property value by $500 or more. This is a felony offense that can result in $10,000 in fines and 5 years in prison.
Second degree — The amount of the property value is reduced between $500 and $1,000 and the act was motivated by religious, racial or sexual prejudice. This is also a felony that results in $3,000 in fines and one year and one day in prison if convicted.
Third degree — The property damage is between $500 and $1,000 or the property value was no more than $500 and was motivated by some kind of bias. This is a gross misdemeanor with a $3,000 fine and one year in jail.
Fourth degree — This is a misdemeanor that includes criminal damage to property that is not covered under the first three degrees, but can still result in fines and jail time if convicted.
The judge has some leeway in sentencing and may order restitution to the victim, community service and/or probation.
If you or a loved one has been charged with criminal damaging, you need a competent and aggressive criminal defense attorney to show the facts in the case and help you reach a positive outcome. Call the Rivers Law Firm, P.A., at 612-915-0355 or send us a message to schedule a free initial case evaluation.