Criminal Mischief

Criminal mischief seems to happen more around Halloween every year, but it does happen year-round.

It’s a crime against tangible property.

It includes such activities as vandalism, graffiti, or tampering with an electric, internet, cable, or gas utility service.

The Texas Penal Code defines criminal mischief as:

A person commits an offense if, without the effective consent of the owner:

  1. He/she intentionally or knowingly damages or destroys the tangible property of the owner;
  2. He/she intentionally or knowingly tampers with the tangible property of the owner and causes pecuniary loss or substantial inconvenience to the owner or a third person; or

He/she intentionally or knowingly makes markings, including:

    • Inscriptions
    • Slogans
    • Drawings
    • Or paintings, on the tangible property of the owner.

Penalties for criminal mischief depend on the value of the property that was damaged or destroyed.

  • If the property is valued at less than $100 or substantial inconvenience was caused to others, it is a class c misdemeanor resulting in up to a $500 fine.
  • If the property is valued between $100 – $750, it is a class b misdemeanor which can result in 180 days (about 6 months) in jail, and a $2,000 fine.
  • If the property is valued between $750 – $2,500 or causes impairment to any public water supply, it is a class a misdemeanor which can result in 1 year in jail, and a $4,000 fine.
  • If the property is valued between $2,500 – $30,000, was valued at less than $2,500 and the property was a habitation and the damage was caused by a firearm or explosive, or if it was valued at less than $2,500 for a fence for livestock, it is a state jail felony which can result in 180 days – 2 years in jail, and a $10,000 fine.
  • If the property is valued between $30,000 – $150,000, or the actor caused the death of cattle, bison, or horses, or there was impairment to an ATM, it is a third-degree felony which can result in 2-10 years in prison, and a $10,000 fine.
  • If the property is valued between $150,000 – $300,000, it is a second-degree felony which can result in 2-20 years in prison, and a $10,000 fine.
  • If the property is valued at over $300,000, it is a first-degree felony which can result in 5-99 years/life in prison, and a $10,000 fine.

If you’ve been charged with criminal mischief, be sure to speak to a lawyer. Call us here at Blizzard and Zimmerman Attorneys.

We have 30 years of combined legal experience and continue to provide people just like you with compassionate and comprehensive legal services as they fight criminal mischief charges. We evaluate your case and provide you with the best possible legal options for your situation.

Call today for a consultation with an attorney to find out how we can put our skills and experience to work for you.