Sometimes a harmless prank results in incredibly severe repercussions. You don’t want to face a charge for vandalism alone. You need legal representation.

Criminal Mischief and Vandalism in Pennsylvania

Under Pennsylvania law, vandalism is often referred to as criminal mischief. The worth of the property that has been damaged dictates the penalties for the one found guilty. Under Pennsylvania law, penalties for an adult are as follows:

  • Property 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 by up to seven years in prison

For instance, 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.

When you vandalize a place of worship, school, or any government-owned facility, it becomes 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 agricultural property of another. An example would be when damaging land used for 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, for example:

  • 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

No emotional and/or psychological reasons for why a minor committed criminal mischief will change the fact that the damage must be paid for.

In cases of vandalism committed by minors, he or she may face:

  • Restitution payments
  • Fines
  • Probation orders
  • Enrollment in a diversion program
  • Juvenile detention sentence

Our team argues the restitution payments owed after your child has been charged with criminal mischief. Vandalism charges are not simple pranks, moreover, they can carry long-lasting consequences. That’s why you need Kalinoski Law Offices to make them fair.

Scranton Criminal Defense: Vandalism Charges

Scranton criminal defense attorney Craig Kalinoski will protect you in and out of court. We will 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.

We fight for the rights of our clients in a wide spectrum of practice areas, ranging from criminal defense to family law to civil rights and personal injury.

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