Criminal Mischief is the essentially Texas' way of labeling vandalism or destruction of property. Although criminal mischief is often a property crimes offense associated with teens, many adults find themselves faced with criminal mischief charges as well in Austin, Texas. An Austin Criminal mischief charge may seem like a petty offense compared to a drug arrest or assault offense, however, a mischief charge could result in either a misdemeanor or felony conviction.
An Austin criminal mischief charge can be classified as either a misdemeanor or a felony in Texas. This classification is usually based on the circumstances of the offense and amount of financial loss suffered or the value of the property damaged or destroyed.
Austin Criminal Mischief Lawyer
If you have been arrested or being investigated for criminal mischief in Austin, Texas, you should immediately seek legal counsel. As an Austin criminal defense attorney, The Law Office of Kevin Bennett can represent you. Call The Law Office of Kevin Bennett today at (512) 476-4626 to schedule a free consultation.
The Law Office of Kevin Bennett represents those charged with criminal mischief throughout Travis County, including in Austin, Lakeway and Lago Vista.
Criminal Mischief Law in Texas: Texas Penal Code Section 28.03
Under the Texas Penal Code, a person commits an offense if, without effective consent of the owner, he intentionally or knowingly damages or destroys the tangible property of the owner; intentionally or knowingly tampers with the tangible property of the owner and causes pecuniary loss or substantial inconvenience to the owner or a third person; or intentionally or knowingly makes makings, including inscriptions, slogans, drawings or paintings, on the tangible property of the owner.
Tangible property is any type of personal or real property that can be touched or is moveable. For example, a home, a car, a golf cart, tools and equipment, clothing, electronics, a cell phone, and appliances are tangible property.
Criminal Mischief Penalties in Texas
The penalties for an Austin criminal mischief offense are found in Chapter 12 of the Texas Penal Code and are classified as either a misdemeanor or felony and will generally vary depending upon the circumstances off the offense and value of the property damaged or destroyed or the financial loss suffered.
Criminal Mischief Class C Misdemeanor: The amount of the financial loss is less than $100 or causes substantial inconvenience. The penalty faced is a fine of up to $500.00.
Criminal Mischief Class B Misdemeanor: The amount of the financial loss ranges from $100 to $750. The penalty faced is up to 180 days in jail and/or up to a $2,000 fine.
Criminal Mischief Class A Misdemeanor: The amount of the financial loss ranges from $750 to $2,500. The penalty faced is up to 1 year in jail and/or up to a $4,000 fine.
Criminal Mischief State Jail Felony: The amount of financial loss ranges from $2,500 to $30,000.The penalty faced is 180 days to 2 years in State Jail and a fine up to $10,000.
Criminal Mischief Third Degree Felony: The amount of financial loss is less than $150,000 but at least $30,000. The penalty faced is a prison sentence ranging from two to ten years and a fine up to $10,000.
Criminal Mischief Second Degree Felony: The amount of financial loss is less than $300,000 but $150,000 or more. The penalty faced is a prison sentence ranging from two to 20 years and a fine up to $10,000.
Criminal Mischief First Degree Felony: The amount of financial loss is $300,000 or more. A conviction can result in a prison sentence ranging from five to 99 years or life imprisonment and a fine up to $10,000.
Defense Against Criminal Mischief Charges in Austin, Texas
Many criminal mischief charges in Austin, Texas result from teens or young adults causing damage to someone's property under the belief that they are just "fooling around" or "being stupid." Regardless of the evidence against someone or even if there is little question as to whether a certain individual destroyed or caused the financial loss, a good Austin criminal defense lawyer will know how to skillfully tailor a solid defense to each unique Austin criminal mischief case.