Many people refer to property-related crime as “vandalism,” but Colorado law refers to this offense as “criminal mischief.” If you have been charged with criminal mischief, it is important that you act now and secure legal representation. You need a criminal defense attorney in Colorado Springs who is experienced in this type of case and can help you get the best possible legal outcome.
The lawyers at Patterson Weaver Law, LLC have experience defending clients against criminal mischief charges. Reach out to our law firm today to set up a free consultation and learn how we can help you.
What Is Considered Criminal Mischief In Colorado?
In the state of Colorado, A person commits criminal mischief when he or she knowingly damages the real or personal property of one or more other persons, including property owned by the person jointly with another person or property owned by the person to which someone else has a possessory or proprietary interest, in the course of a single criminal episode.
For an act to be considered criminal mischief, it must be committed knowingly. Imagine a scenario in which the person accused runs into another car in a parking lot. If the damage caused to the property was the result of an accident, there has been no crime committed. The driver could face civil liability for the damages, but not criminal. However, if the person accused intentionally rammed his vehicle into someone else’s car as an act of revenge, then the criminal mischief statute would apply.
The seriousness of the charge is directly related to the value of the property that has been damaged. If the pecuniary loss (monetary value) for the aggregate damage of real or personal property is:
- Less than $300, a petty offense;
- $300 or more but less than $1,000, a Class 2 Misdemeanor;
- $1,000 or more but less than $2,000, a Class 1 Misdemeanor;
- $2,000 or more but less than $5,000, a Class 6 Felony;
- $5,000 or more but less than $20,000, a Class 5 Felony;
- $20,000 or more but less than $100,000, a Class 4 Felony;
- $100,000 or more but less than $1,000,000, a Class 3 Felony; and
- $1,000,000 or more, a Class 2 Felony.
What Are The Potential Penalties for Criminal Mischief in Colorado?
- Under Colorado statute, a petty offense is punishable by up to 10 days in jail and/or a fine up to $300;
- A Class 2 Misdemeanor is punishable by up to 120 days in jail, a fine up to $750, or both;
- A Class 1 Misdemeanor is punishable by up to 364 days in jail, a fine of up to $1,000, or both;
- A class 6 felony is punishable by between 1 year and 18 months in jail, and a fine between $1,000 and $100,000;
- A class 5 felony is punishable by between 1 year and 3 years in jail, and a fine between $1,000 and $100,000;
- A class 4 felony is punishable by between 2 years and 6 years in jail, and a fine between $2,000 and $500,000;
- A class 3 felony is punishable by between 4 years and 12 years in jail, and a fine between $3,000 and $750,000.
- A Class 2 Felony is punishable by between 8 and 24 years in jail, and a fine between $5,000 and $1,000,000.
How Can an Attorney Help Me?
Because even minor damage to property can constitute criminal mischief, it is vitally important that you get legal advice as to how to proceed with your case. Your attorney will work with you to evaluate the strengths and weakness of the prosecution’s case against you, and identify potential defenses that may apply to your case.
Execution of public duty: Sometimes performing public duty may technically result in criminal mischief, such as a firefighter breaking down a door to investigate smoke coming from the house of someone who is not at home.
Impaired mental condition: Someone with an impaired mental condition may have committed acts of vandalism without the necessary mental state, “knowingly,” which negates one of the elements of the offense.
Involuntary intoxication: This means the crime was committed while intoxicated without voluntarily using drugs or alcohol. For example, you may have consumed a beverage not knowing it contained alcohol.
Can Criminal Mischief Be Charged As Domestic Violence?
Jointly owned property, such as that of a husband and wife, can often be involved in criminal mischief cases, and this can lead to a domestic violence case. Domestic violence charges carry their own set of penalties, such as the loss of your Second Amendment rights to own and operate a firearm. This is all the more reason to schedule a consultation with a defense attorney who is experienced with both domestic violence and criminal mischief cases.
Need Help Defending Yourself Against A Criminal Mischief Charge? Contact Us Today!
If you have been charged with criminal mischief, you should not hesitate to speak with an experienced Colorado Springs criminal defense attorney. Although no attorney can offer a guarantee that your case will be resolved favorably, our team at Patterson Weaver Law, LLC has a track record for getting desirable results for our clients. Your future may depend on choosing the right criminal mischief attorney for your unique situation.
Give us a call at 719-264-9858 to set up a free case evaluation today or contact us online.