Criminal Mischief and Vandalism Defense Attorney In Okaloosa County
Assisting With Arrests Near Destin, Ft Walton Beach And Throughout The County
The intentional damaging of property (vandalism) in Okaloosa County is a crime and it is technically referred to as criminal mischief, according to Florida Statute § 806.13(1)-(2).
This category also includes acts of vandalism or the placement of graffiti on the property. Depending on the level of damage, the charge can range from a second degree misdemeanor all the way to a third degree felony.
There are many examples of criminal mischief: Breaking a door frame or lock; keying, scratching or egging someone’s car; painting or writing graffiti; or even driving through someone’s yard making ruts.
What Are The Elements Of Criminal Mischief As Defined By Florida Law?
Criminal Mischief is basically a catch-all type of charge for property crimes. If there is an ascertainable monetary figure in terms of damage related to the criminal act, then criminal mischief is the preferred charge used by most prosecutors.
To prove Criminal Mischief, the State must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt.
- That the Defendant intentionally, willfully, and maliciously injured or damaged real or personal property of the victim.
- That at the time of the act, the property injured or damaged belonged to the purported victim.
How Are The Misdemeanor & Felony Levels Of Criminal Mischief Categorized In Florida?
Misdemeanor Level Criminal Mischief and Vandalism – First Degree
If the damage to the property was greater than $200 but less than $1,000; it is a first degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in jail, a $1000 fine, and mandatory restitution.
Misdemeanor Level Criminal Mischief and Vandalism – Second Degree
If the damage to the property was less than $200; it is a second degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 60 days in jail, a $500 fine, and mandatory restitution.
Felony Level Criminal Mischief and Vandalism –Third Degree
If the damage to the property was $1,000 or greater, the charge is a felony, punishable by up to five years in prison, a $5,000 fine, and mandatory restitution.
You can face enhanced charges also apply in cases where the property damaged was a church, synagogue, mosque, or other place of worship; and in cases where the defendant has a previous conviction for criminal mischief. Additionally, the method in which the value of the damage is calculated is based on the aggregate total, even if the property was owned by separate people.
Defending Clients Against Criminal Mischief and Vandalism Charges
We still focus on the major issues to litigate, like establishing proper identification, the correct determination of damage and property value, and other potential defenses to the charges.
But since the issue of restitution looms so large in these types of cases, often we try to use it as a way to open negotiations with the prosecutor, and in many cases, that leverage can put the client in a better position to get the best possible result.
If you or a family member has been arrested for Criminal Mischief and Vandalism in Ft Walton Beach, Destin or anywhere else in Okaloosa County, why not call (850) 362-6655 and speak to an attorney for free…. and find out how I can help.