Criminal mischief is a criminal offense that is classified as a misdemeanor in Louisiana and so, many people mistakenly think it is a minor crime. In fact, that is not the case. Being convicted of criminal mischief will come with very harsh consequences, and they may remain with you for the rest of your life. Fortunately, there are defenses to these charges that can help you retain your freedom. Below, our Monroe misdemeanor defense lawyer explains these criminal charges and how you can beat them.
What is Criminal Mischief?
Criminal mischief is defined under Louisiana law as altering the property of another person, without permission from the rightful owner, with the intent to interfere with the ability of the proper owner to enjoy or use the property themselves. Criminal mischief charges may apply any time one person defaces, damages, destroys, alters, or breaks another person’s property.
It is important to note that intent is a very important element of any criminal mischief case. This means that to be charged, a person must have had the specific intention of damaging another person’s property. Unfortunately, people often find themselves facing charges when they did not intend to damage someone else’s property. For example, if a person negligently handled dangerous items and someone else’s property became damaged, that does not constitute criminal mischief because there was no intent to destroy the property.
In order for criminal mischief charges to apply, there must have also been an intention to cause the rightful property owner financial harm, or harm to others. For those convicted, penalties can include up to six months in jail, a maximum fine of $500, or both.
Examples of Criminal Mischief
It is not always easy to determine when criminal mischief charges apply. For example, if you were playing with your dog and threw a Frisbee that landed on your neighbor’s lawn, that is not enough to constitute criminal mischief. On the other hand, if you were angry at your neighbor and deliberately threw a Frisbee through their window, that could result in criminal charges. Some of the most common types of criminal mischief are as follows:
- Tampering with fire hoses, graves, or emergency exits
- Setting off explosives or bombs, or starting fires or using a firearm
- Removing important signage
- Scratching a vehicle using keys
- Hacking into another person’s personal computer or installing malware or viruses into someone else’s PC
- Intentionally damaging any private or public property
- Interfering with satellite signals
- Tagging property and other examples of graffiti
Call Our Misdemeanor Defense Lawyer in Monroe for Help with Your Charges
Whether you have made a mistake or have been wrongfully accused of criminal mischief, our Monroe misdemeanor defense lawyer at Whiddon Criminal Defense can help you beat your charges. Our seasoned attorney will give you the best chance of avoiding a conviction so you do not have a record that follows you for the rest of your life. Call us now at 318-594-3592 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with our experienced attorney and to learn more about how we can help.