Criminal Mischief in Tampa, FL
Criminal mischief is one of the most commonly prosecuted crimes in the Florida court system, but that does not mean the consequences of a conviction are not serious. They can include jail time, fines, community service and driver’s license suspensions. You should not attempt to deal with charges of criminal mischief before retaining legal representation.
If you or a loved one are facing criminal mischief charges in the Tampa, FL, area, call Armando Edmiston, an experienced Tampa criminal mischief criminal defense lawyer, today.
Criminal Mischief: A Definition in Tampa, FL
Criminal mischief, also known as vandalism, occurs when a person willfully and maliciously injures or damages another person’s property. This can include anything from spray paint on the side of a garage to broken windows in a car. Punishments for criminal mischief are layered depending on the amount of damage. If the damage is valued at $200 or less, the offense is a second-degree misdemeanor with a maximum sentence of 60 days in jail and a maximum fine of $500. If the damage is valued at more than $200 but less than $1,000, it is a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by as much as one year in jail and a maximum fine of $1,000. If the damage is valued at $1,000 or more, it is a third-degree felony punishable by as many as five years in prison and a maximum fine of $5,000. Criminal mischief that causes less than $1,000 in damage becomes a third-degree felony with a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a maximum fine of $5,000 if the offender has a prior conviction for criminal mischief. On top of fines, offenders may be required to pay for the cost of the damage they cause. For purposes of determining the cost of damages, courts add up the total damage caused during each episode of criminal mischief, regardless of how many separate property owners may be involved.
Criminal Mischief: Special Circumstances in Tampa, FL
Willfully and maliciously defacing or damaging a place of worship, or any religious items located at a place of worship, is a third-degree felony with a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a maximum fine of $5,000. Criminal mischief that renders a public telephone inoperative is also a third-degree felony with a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a maximum fine of $5,000, as is criminal mischief against a detention or commitment facility for violent sex offenders if it causes $200 or more worth of damage. Florida criminal mischief law takes special aim at graffiti. The law imposes additional mandatory fines in these cases: at least $250 for a first conviction for graffiti, at least $500 for a second conviction, and at least $1,000 for a third or subsequent conviction. If an offender is a minor, her parents will be held liable for these fines. Offenders convicted of criminal mischief involving graffiti must also complete community service removing graffiti. A minor who is convicted of criminal mischief involving graffiti and is eligible to drive will have those privileges revoked for one year; if she is too young to drive at the time of her conviction, she will be barred from obtaining her learner’s permit until she turns 15.