Criminal mischief is a crime in Texas relating to the destruction of property. While minor offenses are typically misdemeanors, cases involving more significant amounts of damage could result in felony charges.
While criminal mischief might not sound like a serious criminal offense, a conviction can still cause very real and long-lasting damage because of its appearance on a criminal record. You will want to do whatever you can to avoid having to deal with these types of consequences.
If you or your loved one has been arrested for criminal mischief in the greater Plano area, you must be sure that you have experienced legal representation. Try not to make any statements to authorities until you have the opportunity to call an attorney.
The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy aggressively defends people arrested for criminal mischief in communities throughout Collin County. Call (469) 304-3422 or contact us online to set up a free consultation.
Under Texas Penal Code § 28.03, a person commits criminal mischief if, without the effective consent of the owner, they intentionally or knowingly:
● damage or destroys the tangible property of the owner;
● tamper with the tangible property of the owner and causes pecuniary loss or substantial inconvenience to the owner or a third person; or
● make markings, including inscriptions, slogans, drawings, or paintings, on the tangible property of the owner.
When the amount of pecuniary loss is less than $100 or the offense causes substantial inconvenience to others, criminal mischief is a Class C misdemeanor. When the amount of pecuniary loss is $100 or more but less than $750, it is a Class B misdemeanor. If the amount of pecuniary loss is $750 or more but less than $2,500 or the alleged offender causes in whole or in part impairment or interruption of any public water supply, or causes to be diverted in whole, in part, or in any manner, including installation or removal of any device for any such purpose, any public water supply, regardless of the amount of the pecuniary loss, criminal mischief is a Class A misdemeanor.
Criminal mischief becomes a state jail felony when the amount of pecuniary loss is:
● less than $30,000 and the alleged offender caused wholly or partly impairment or interruption of property used for flood control purposes or a dam or of public communications, public transportation, public gas or power supply, or other public service; or caused to be diverted wholly, partly, or in any manner, including installation or removal of any device for any such purpose, any public communications or public gas or power supply;
● less than $2,500, if the property was a fence used for the production or containment of cattle, bison, horses,sheep, swine, goats, exotic livestock, or exotic poultry, or game animals as that term is defined by Section 63.001, Parks and Wildlife Code;
● less than $2,500, if the property damaged or destroyed is a habitation and if the damage or destruction is caused by a firearm or explosive weapon; or
● $2,500 or more but less than$30,000.
Under Texas Penal Code § 28.03(f), criminal mischief is also a state jail felony when the damage or destruction is inflicted on a place of worship or human burial, a public monument, or a community center that provides medical, social, or educational programs and the amount of the pecuniary loss to real property or to tangible personal property is $750 or more but less than $30,000. Texas Penal Code § 28.03(h) further provides that if the amount of the pecuniary loss to real property or to tangible personal property is $750 or more but less than $30,000 and the damage or destruction is inflicted on a public or private elementary school, secondary school, or institution of higher education, the offense is also a state jail felony.
When the amount of the pecuniary loss is $30,000 or more but less than $150,000, or the alleged offender, by discharging a firearm or other weapon or by any other means, causes the death of one or more head of cattle or bison or one or more horses, criminal mischief is a third-degree felony. When the amount of pecuniary loss is $150,000 or more but less than $300,000, it is a second-degree felony. Criminal mischief is a first-degree felony if the amount of pecuniary loss is $300,000 or more.
The sentence a person receives for a criminal mischief conviction depends on how their crime is graded. In general, the maximum allowable sentences are as follows:
● First-Degree Felony — Up to 99 years or life in prison and/or fine of up to $10,000.
● Class C Misdemeanor — Fine of up to $500.
● Second-Degree Felony — Up to 20 years in prison and/or fine of up to $10,000.
● Third-Degree Felony — Up to 10 years in prison and/or fine of up to $10,000.
● State Jail Felony — Up to two years in state jail and/or fine of up to $10,000.
● Class A Misdemeanor — Up to one year in jail and/or fine of up to $4,000.
● Class B Misdemeanor — Up to 180 days in jail and/or fine of up to $2,000.
An alleged offender could be charged with criminal mischief despite their actions being accidental. When you are accused of damaging another party’s property without criminal intent, you are going to need a lawyer.
It is also possible that you were not the person who committed the crime in question. In some cases, police may arrest a person based on a description of an alleged offender or even as the result of lineups, but these are still flawed techniques and it may be possible that an innocent person was charged with a crime they did not actually commit.
18 U.S. Code § 1366 | Destruction of an energy facility — Under this federal law, a person who knowingly and willfully damages or attempts or conspires to damage the property of an energy facility in an amount that in fact exceeds or would if the attempted offense had been completed, or if the object of the conspiracy had been achieved, have exceeded $100,000, or damages or attempts or conspires to damage the property of an energy facility in any amount and causes or attempts or conspires to cause a significant interruption or impairment of a function of an energy facility, can be ordered to pay a fine and/or sentenced to 20 years in prison. A person can be ordered to pay a fine and/or sentenced to five years in prison if they knowingly and willfully damage or attempt to damage the property of an energy facility in an amount that in fact exceeds or would if the attempted offense had been completed have exceeded$5,000. When either violation results in the death of any person, the alleged offender can be sentenced to any term of imprisonment up to life.
18 U.S. Code § 1362 | Communication lines, stations or systems —Willfully or maliciously injuring or destroying any of the works, property, or material of any radio, telegraph, telephone or cable, line, station, or system,or other means of communication, operated or controlled by the United States,or used or intended to be used for military or civil defense functions of the United States, whether constructed or in process of construction, or willfully or maliciously interfering in any way with the working or use of any such line,or system, or willfully or maliciously obstructs, hinders, or delays the transmission of any communication over any such line, or system, is prohibited under this federal law. Attempting or conspiring to perform such acts can result in fines and/or imprisonment for up to 10 years.
Were you or your loved one arrested for alleged criminal mischief in Plano? You need to be quick to get yourself legal counsel.