Have you found yourself in a situation where you got so mad at a neighbor for whatever reason, right to the point where you were tempted to put a rock through his or her window, but decided against it at the last minute?
If you stopped yourself from doing it, then you made the right call. Had you given in to your rage, you will have been arrested and charged with criminal damage.
Criminal damage is a serious charge that typically involves damage to property. Whether it’s as simple as breaking a single plate or something more severe like crashing your car into someone else’s home, you are bound to face criminal damage charges, and you’re going to need a criminal defense attorney to represent you in court.
Here are some things you need to know about criminal damage.
How Does One Commit Criminal Damage?
You will find yourself facing a criminal damage charge if you recklessly deface or damage property that belongs to another person.
The same thing will happen if you tamper with property to impair its value substantially.
Another way to get charged with criminal damage is to damage property that belongs to a utility. Anyone who tampers with the property of a utility intentionally will face criminal damage charges as well.
When you park your vehicle in such a way that will deprive other people’s livestock of water, you may also be up for a criminal damage charge.
And if you write or draw graffiti on the side of a building without the owner’s permission, you can expect a criminal damage charge sooner or later.
Criminal Damage Can Be Charged As A Misdemeanor or Felony
Whether a person will be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony criminal damage will largely depend on the value of the damage.
Property damage that costs less than $1,000 is a misdemeanor. Anything beyond a thousand dollars, and it’s going to be a felony, which brings even harsher consequences.
The class of misdemeanor or felony will also depend on how significant the property damage is. Damages of less than $250 is a Class 2 Misdemeanor, while damages over $250 but less than $1,000 is a class 2 misdemeanor. Charges will be upgraded to a Class 6 Felony if damages reach more than $1,000 but less than $2,000.
You Can Be Charged Even If You Co-Own The Damaged Property
In Arizona, you can actually be charged with criminal damage if the property you destroyed is co-owned by your spouse. So the next time you argue with your spouse, and you’re thinking about smashing that huge TV in the living room that you both happen to own, don’t.
Criminal Damage Can Be Resolved Without Jail
Criminal damage comes with a prison term, but it can be resolved if your attorney can successfully arrange a diversion program or a deferred prosecution agreement instead.
Should find yourself at the receiving end of a criminal damage charge, make sure that you get the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you get the best possible result.