Criminal Mischief

The crime of criminal mischief applies to someone who is accused of breaking or damaging property. The most serious criminal mischief charge is a Class B Felony, and the least serious charge is a misdemeanor. The level of the crime varies depending on the dollar amount placed on the damage. Often in a criminal mischief case a “value expert” may need to get involved to either confirm or challenge the dollar value of the damage. Dietrich P. Epperson has defended, investigated, and (as a former assistant district attorney) prosecuted numerous criminal mischief cases.

In New York, Article 145 of the Penal Law covers criminal mischief charges. There are 4 levels of severity: (1) Criminal Mischief in the First Degree under Penal Law Section 145.12, (2) Criminal Mischief in the Second Degree under Penal Law Section 145.10, (3) Criminal Mischief in the Third Degree under Penal Law Section 145.10, and (4) Criminal Mischief in the Fourth Degree under Penal Law Section 145.00. The crime of Criminal Mischief has its own legal terms and definitions, which are found under Penal Law Section 145.13.

Criminal Mischief in the Fourth Degree

Criminal Mischief in the Fourth Degree is a Class A Misdemeanor in New York. The minimum punishment is an alternative sentence where a person can avoid jail time, and the maximum punishment is 1 year jail. Criminal Mischief in the Fourth Degree is most commonly charged when:

  • A person intentionally damages property of another.

Criminal Mischief in the Third Degree

Criminal Mischief in the Third Degree is a Class E Felony in New York. The minimum punishment is 1 to 3 years jail, and the maximum punishment is 1.3 to 4 years jail. There is also the possibility (under extenuating circumstances) that a judge can impose an alternative sentence where the accused can get less jail time, or possibly no jail time at all. Criminal Mischief in the Third Degree is most commonly charged when:

  • A personal intentionally damages property of another, and the amount of the damage exceeds $250.

Criminal Mischief in the Second Degree

Criminal Mischief in the Second Degree is a Class D Felony in New York. The minimum punishment is 1 to 3 years jail, and the maximum punishment is 2.3 to 7 years jail. There is also the possibility (under extenuating circumstances) that a judge can impose an alternative sentence where the accused can get less jail time, or possibly no jail time at all. Criminal Mischief in the Second Degree can be charged when:

  • A person intentionally damages property of another, and the amount of the damage exceeds $1,500.

Criminal Mischief in the First Degree

Criminal Mischief in the First Degree is a Class C Felony in New York. The minimum punishment is 1 to 3 years jail, and the maximum punishment is 5 to 15 years jail. There is also the possibility (under extenuating circumstances) that a judge can impose an alternative sentence where the accused can get less jail time, or possibly no jail time at all. Criminal Mischief in the First Degree can be charged when:

  • A person intentionally damages property of another by means of an explosive.

If you have been charged with criminal mischief, an experienced attorney can help. To schedule a private, no-cost legal consultation with a New York City criminal mischief lawyer, call the law offices of Dietrich P. Epperson at (347) 561-0025, or contact us online.