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Austin Criminal Mischief Lawyer

Understanding Texas’ Criminal Mischief Laws

Under Texas law, criminal mischief has several elements that make up this offense, all of which must be proven by a prosecutor in order to obtain a conviction. It is essentially a property crime that may involve vandalism or the defacing of structures as with graffiti. It may be charged as a misdemeanor or felony depending on the value of the monetary loss involved to the property. While felonies are more serious than misdemeanor charges, any criminal charge can have a negative impact on your future if it results in a conviction. A permanent criminal record can lead to problems finding employment, qualifying for rental housing or for educational opportunities.

At The Law Office of Will Mitchell, we concentrate our entire practice on the defense of criminal charges. That means our Austin criminal mischief defense attorney handles this field of law day in and day out which has led to years of focused experience and knowledge. You have a right to the best defense you can present in court which could lead to charges being dropped or reduced or to reduced sentencing. Your chances of securing a favorable result are best sought with the help of a skilled criminal defense lawyer such as Attorney Mitchell. Our firm can put together an effective defense strategy after careful review of all of the facts surrounding your arrest looking for weaknesses or areas of doubt in a prosecutor’s case.

Arrested for criminal mischief in Austin? Contact us at (512) 858-8611 to arrange to discuss your case and legal options today.

What is Criminal Mischief?

The elements of criminal mischief under Texas law which must be proven include:

  • You acted with intent and knowledge of what you were doing

  • You acted without the permission of the property owner

  • You either damaged or destroyed property, tampered with property resulting in a monetary loss or significant inconvenience to the property owner or someone else, or you defaced the property with markings or drawings

Classifications of Criminal Mischief

Criminal mischief is charged based on the value of monetary loss that was inflicted on the property:

  • It is charged as a Class C misdemeanor when the monetary loss was less than $50 or it caused the inconvenience as mentioned above

  • It is charged as a Class B misdemeanor when the monetary loss ranged between $50 and $500

  • It is charged as a Class A misdemeanor when the monetary loss ranged between $500 and $1500

  • It is charged as a state jail felony when the monetary loss ranged between $1500 and $20,000

  • It is charged as a third-degree felony when the monetary loss ranged between $20,000 and $100,000

  • It is charged as a second-degree felony when the monetary loss ranged between $100,000 and $200,000

  • It is charged as a first-degree felony when the monetary loss was $200,000 or more

What are the Penalties for Criminal Mischief?

The penalties for criminal mischief include:

  • Misdemeanors generally involve up to a year in jail and/or fines of $500 up to $4,000.
  • Felonies are more serious with penalties including $10,000 in fines and jail terms of 180 days to two years or prison terms of two up to 99 years.

Criminal mischief can involve damage to homes, businesses, vehicles, schools, and any public or private property. Examples would include breaking windows, keying the paint job on a car, and spray painting any structure with graffiti as well as destroying fences, doors, floors, tearing out plumbing fixtures, and more.

The Law Office of Will Mitchell Provides Skillful Legal Defense

A criminal mischief charge may sound insignificant. However, when it comes to property damage, Texas law takes this matter seriously. Your life can be dramatically changed with a conviction which means you need to put forth an equally strong defense. You can count on the dedication and competence of our firm where we will do everything possible to fight for your best outcome.

Reach out to us at (512) 858-8611 for the help you need today.