Criminal mischief is one of the most common property crimes in Florida. It is an offense that many people don’t take seriously until it is too late. If convicted of criminal mischief, an individual can face up to five years in prison and could also be forced to pay a fine of up of to $5000.
Once charged with criminal mischief, it is important to take the necessary steps in order to successfully fight these allegations. An individual should gain knowledge on the varying degrees of this offense, as well as the punishments associated with each degree. It is important to contact a Jacksonville property crimes attorney to help you defend yourself against these allegations.Jacksonville Criminal Mischief Attorney
If you have been charged with criminal mischief in Jacksonville, Neptune Beach, Baldwin, Orange Park, Keystone Heights, St. Augustine, Fernandina Beach, Hilliard, or the surrounding areas, contact Roelke Law. Bill Roelke is a dedicated criminal defense attorney who will thoroughly analyze law enforcement's version of your case to identify any inaccuracies that could potentially lead to the dismissal of your case.
Take the first step in fighting your criminal mischief charge by calling Roelke Law today at (904) 354-0333 for a free consultation on your allegations.
Classifications of Criminal Mischief in Florida
As stated by Fla. Stat. § 806.13, anyone who intentionally damages or places graffiti on property that belongs to someone else, is guilty of criminal mischief. Criminal mischief charges in Florida range from a misdemeanor of the second degree to a felony of the third degree. The factors that determine the severity of the charges are as follows:
- Property damage that is $200 or less can result in a second degree misdemeanor charge.
- If the property damage is between $200 and $1,000, an individual can be charged with a misdemeanor of the first degree.
- Damage that is $1,000 or greater, can lead to a third degree felony charge.
- If the damage causes an interruption in business operation, or interferes with public communication, transportation, supply of water, gas, power, or any other public service that costs $1,000 or more to restore, an individual can be charged with a felony of the third degree.
- Individuals who have previously been convicted of criminal mischief will be charged with a third degree felony for any subsequent criminal mischief offenses.
- If an individual intentionally causes more than $200 of damage to a church, synagogue, mosque, or any other place of worship, he or she can be charged with a felony of the third degree.
Punishments for Criminal Mischief in Florida
According to Fla. Stat. § 775.082 and § 775.083 the penalties are as follows:
- If convicted of misdemeanor criminal mischief in the second degree, an individual can be sentenced to up to 60 days in jail and/or up to a $500 fine.
- If convicted of misdemeanor criminal mischief in the first degree, an individual can be sentenced to up to one year in jail and/or up to a $1,000 fine.
- If convicted of felony criminal mischief in the third degree, an individual can be sentenced to up to five years in prison and/or up to a $5,000 fine.
Defenses to Criminal Mischief
The most important aspect of criminal mischief is determining whether or not the alleged offender damaged the property intentionally. Therefore, a common defense in criminal mischief cases involves the defendant claiming that the damage was done unintentionally.
In addition to claiming the damage was done unintentionally, other defenses to the crime of criminal mischief include:
- The property is jointly owned by the accused and alleged victim
- There are extenuating circumstances that excuse the act
- The damage was not a direct result of the actions of the accused
- The act was necessary to protect the accused or to protect others
- There is legal justification for the accused act
- The property does not actually belong to the alleged victim
These defenses do not apply to every situation. Therefore, it is important to have an experienced Duval County lawyer review the facts of your case to determine which defense, if any, applies to your specific situation.
Roelke Law, P.A. | Jacksonville Criminal Mischief Attorney
Contact Roelke Law today for a consultation about your allegations of criminal mischief in Orange Park, Neptune Beach, St. Augustine, Baldwin, Hilliard, and the surrounding areas. Bill Roelke is a skilled Jacksonville defense attorney and former clerk for a federal district judge, who will use his unique understanding of how judges think to break down and possibly suppress the case against you.
Contact Bill Roelke at (904) 354-0333 for a consultation about your alleged criminal mischief charges. Your initial consultation is free and is the first step in building a strong defense against these charges.