Criminal Mischief Charges in Utah
When a person intentionally destroys someone else’s property, or when they disrupt a public utility they can be charged with criminal mischief. Criminal mischief can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or felony.
In the state of Utah, criminal property damage offenses are typically charged as criminal mischief under state law. Criminal mischief can be prosecuted as either a misdemeanor or a felony offense depending upon the nature of the crime, the extent of the property damage and the intent involved.
A person can be guilty of committing the crime of criminal mischief on a variety of different levels ranging from keying somebody’s car, to shooting paintballs at a motor vehicle or a bus, to doing something that recklessly endangers another human life.
Vandalism crimes can be charged as criminal mischief, as well as defrauding an insurer. Truthfully, many crimes hold up to the term “criminal mischief" because they refer to mischievous activity that either costs the victim, an insurer, a public utility or other entity a significant amount of money. Activities which involve defacing private or public property, defrauding an insurance company, interrupting a city infrastructure or public utility, or recklessly propelling objects at a moving vehicle, truck, bus, train or plain while they are moving or sitting still fall under the category of criminal mischief.
How a person is charged and the extent of their penalties will depend upon the nature of the crime, the value of the damage done and the facts surrounding the case.
A person can be charged with Class B criminal mischief if their actions endangered the health and safety of another human being and if the extent of the damage was below $300. A person convicted of a Class B misdemeanor could face up to 6 months in jail and fines up to $1,000.
If the action resulted in anywhere from $300 to $1,000 in property damage and if the act endangered any people, then it can be charged as a Class A misdemeanor which is punishable by up to 1 year in jail and fines up to $2,500.
If the damage was valued between $1,000 and $5,000, then it will be charged as a third degree felony which is punishable by up to 5 years in prison and fines up to $5,000.
When a person commits an act which causes or threatens to cause a significant interruption or impairment of a critical infrastructure, or if the person caused damage valued at more than $5,000 from committing the offense, then they face second degree felony charges. A second degree felony is punishable from 1 to 15 years in prison and fines up to $10,000.
Normally law abiding citizens can get caught up in the moment and do things they wouldn’t normally do. Whether they get into a heated fight with their partner or spouse and drive their car into a garage door, or if a desperate person leaves their vehicle in a bad neighborhood in hopes that it will get stolen, normal people can have a momentary lapse in judgment and commit the crime of criminal mischief. Unfortunately, even if you are ordinarily moral and responsible, it doesn’t mean that you can escape criminal charges and incarceration.
Fortunately, there is hope in these types of charges. It will be up to your criminal defense attorney to explain your side of the story and paint you in a more positive light. Your lawyer will search for and unearth any mitigating circumstances that can help the prosecution to better understand your case. Without the help of a highly experienced attorney, you could stand to lose your freedom, and your reputation in your community. To have the best chances of overcoming the charges against you, please contact a Salt Lake City criminal defense lawyer as soon as reasonably possible!