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Criminal Mischief Lawyer

Property damage crimes like criminal mischief may seem relatively minor but they are punished harshly in Texas. The most serious felony cases can be subject to life imprisonment and a fine up to $10,000. When faced with such serious consequences, make sure you put your trust in a Dallas, TX criminal mischief lawyer who will not back down from the authorities and will make them prove their case. Jeff King puts you first and fights for a not guilty verdict.

 

In Texas, criminal mischief is a broad category, covering a range of property crimes that can amount to charges ranging from Class C misdemeanor to first degree felony. The punishment varies based on the criminal intent of the offender and the amount of loss the damage caused – it can result in fines and prison sentences that rival those handed down for violent offenses.

What is criminal mischief in Texas?

Criminal mischief is a broad category of property crimes under the umbrella of vandalism. The Texas Penal Code defines criminal mischief as a property crime that is intentional and without the owner’s consent and involves:

  • Damage or destruction of property;
  • Tampering with the property in a way that causes loss or substantial inconvenience; or
  • Marring the property with inscriptions, painting, or other types of marking.

The prosecutor must be able to prove each element of the charge beyond a reasonable doubt. A TX criminal mischief lawyer will look for weaknesses in the prosecution’s case, such as any lack of evidence of intent or eyewitnesses to place the defendant at the scene of the physical damage, and attempt to prevent the prosecution from meeting its burden. Jeff King knows how to put prosecutors to the test and hold them accountable to prove every element of the charge.

What type of crime are criminal mischief charges in Texas?

Texas Penal Code § 28.03 defines the crime of criminal mischief and provides that it may constitute a Class C misdemeanor, a first degree felony, or something in between. The type of charge, and associated criminal penalty, depends on the intent of the defendant as well as the amount of financial loss caused by the destruction of property.

 

The statute outlines the following levels of criminal charges:

  • Class C misdemeanor: The pecuniary loss is less than $100 or the property damage causes substantial inconvenience to others. Punishable by a fine not to exceed $500.
  • Class B misdemeanor: The pecuniary loss is at least $100 but less than $750. Punishable by a fine not to exceed $2,000 and/or up to 180 days in jail.
  • Class A misdemeanor: The pecuniary loss is at least $750 but less than $2500 or the actor interferes with the public water supply. Punishable by a fine not to exceed $4,000 and/or up to one year in jail.
  • State jail felony: The pecuniary loss is at least $2500 but less than $30,000; less than $2500 but the damaged property was (a) a habitation and the damage was caused by a firearm or explosive weapon, or (b) a fence used to contain certain animals; Less than $30,000 and the actor caused interruption of public communication, transportation, gas, power supply, or other public services. Also, if the damage is to a place of worship or human burial, public monument, or community center, and the loss is at least $750 but less than $30,000. Punishable by a minimum of 180 days, and a maximum of 2 years, in a state jail and a fine up to $10,000.
  • Third degree felony: The pecuniary loss is at least $30,000 but less than $150,000. Punishable by imprisonment between 2 and 10 years and a fine up to $10,000.
  • Second degree felony: The pecuniary loss is at least $150,000 but less than $300,000. Punishable by imprisonment between 2 and 20 years and a fine up to $10,000.
  • First degree felony: The pecuniary loss is at least $300,000. Punishable by imprisonment for life or for a term between 5 and 99 years and a fine up to $10,000.

How can a Texas criminal lawyer help?

Defending a Texas property crime charge requires long-term vision as well as quick thinking. It requires the ability to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of a case and to see the future implications of actions like negotiating a plea or fighting through a trial if that is the best move.

 

There is much at stake when facing a property crime charge in Texas. The long-term implications can affect your work and family life, financial situation, and even your freedom. With so much to lose, it pays to put your trust in a driven TX criminal lawyer.

 

Jeff King puts his 15 years as a criminal defense attorney in Texas to make sure you understand your legal options. He has successfully defended clients charged with serious property crimes, leading to reduced or dismissed charges.

 

To discuss your case privately, contact Jeff King today.

Additional “criminal mischief defense” resources:

  1. Texas Legislature, Penal Code Title 7. Offenses Against Property Chapter 28. Arson, Criminal Mischief, and Other Property Damage or Destruction, http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/PE/htm/PE.28.htm
  2. Texas Legislature, Penal Code Title 3. Punishments Chapter 12. Punishments Subchapter A. General Misdemeanors, http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/PE/htm/PE.12.htm
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JEFFERY KING, PLLC.
2626 Cole Ave.
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Dallas, Texas 75204
T: 469-399-7001
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