What may begin as a harmless prank can result in incredibly severe repercussions. If you are arrested for vandalism, you don’t want to face this charge alone. You need legal representation.
Criminal Mischief and Vandalism in Pennsylvania
Under Pennsylvania law, vandalism is often referred to as criminal mischief. If found guilty, the penalties are commensurate with the worth of the property damaged. Under Pennsylvania law, penalties for an adult are as follows:
- Damage less than $150: Summary offense, punishable by up to 90 days in jail.
- Damage ranging from $150 to $1,000: Misdemeanor of the third degree, punishable by up to one year in prison.
- Damage ranging from $1,000 to $5,000: Misdemeanor of the second degree, with a penalty of imprisonment for up to two years.
- Property loss exceeding $5,000: Felony of the third degree punishable up to seven years in prison.
Such acts included in criminal mischief charges are:
- Damage to property of another;
- Defacing or damaging property with graffiti via aerosol spray-paint can, broad-tipped indelible marker, etc.;
- Using a paintball gun or paintball marker to damage property; or
- Recklessly or negligently damaging someone else’s property by fire, explosives, etc.
However, if vandalism is done to a place of worship, school, or any government-owned facility, you are charged with institutional vandalism. In these cases, losses less than $5,000 are a misdemeanor of the second degree while losses exceeding $5,000 are a felony of the third degree.
In addition, criminal mischief committed on farmlands may constitute agricultural vandalism. Agricultural vandalism occurs when one recklessly or intentionally defaces or damages the property of another, and that property is used for agricultural activity including farming. Property damage may include harm caused to crops, equipment, fences, animals, and fruit-bearing trees.
Remember, whether you are an adult or a minor, it is illegal to damage property that does not belong to you.
Defenses to Criminal Mischief Charges
When harmless pranks escalate into costly property damage, you may not be sure who to turn to and who to trust. As an adult charged with criminal mischief, you’ll need to understand the risks associated with the actions. But you’ll also need to be mindful of potential defenses.
Our criminal defense attorney will review all evidence to help negotiate a lesser penalty. In addition, Attorney Craig Kalinoski will:
- Discredit any evidence that does not pertain to the actions you had taken.
- Argue the lack of criminal intent where possible.
- Argue the values of the total property damage acquired.
Criminal Mischief Committed By Minors
While there may be emotional or psychological reasons why a minor would commit criminal mischief, the damage must still be paid for.
In cases of vandalism committed by minors, he or she may face:
- Restitution payments
- Probation orders
- Enrollment in a diversion program
- Juvenile detention sentence
If you or your child have been charged with criminal mischief in the Keystone State, know that even if the evidence is stacked against you, our team can still argue the restitution payments owed.
Vandalism charges are not simple pranks. They can carry long-lasting consequences. That’s why you need Kalinoski Law Offices.
Scranton Criminal Defense: Vandalism Charges
Scranton criminal defense attorney Craig Kalinoski is committed to protecting you in and out of court to achieve the best possible results so you can put your legal concerns behind you and get on with your life. Call (570) 207-4000 or use our contact form today to schedule an appointment and discuss your criminal mischief case during a free consultation.