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Sometimes people act out of frustration or anger to damage another person’s property. In Florida, willfully and maliciously damaging or destroying the property of another is considered criminal mischief and can be punishable by law.
According to Florida Statutes Annotated § 806.13, the property could include public property, like bridges and street signs. By its terms, criminal mischief includes the placement of graffiti and other acts of vandalism. In juvenile court, the most common types of criminal mischief offenses involve graffiti.
Under Florida Statute Section 806.13, criminal mischief requires the prosecutor with the state attorney’s office prove the defendant acted willfully and maliciously with the intention to damage property that belonged to another.
If you have been charged with criminal mischief in North Florida, contact a Tallahassee criminal mischief defense attorney at Pumphrey Law. The criminal defense attorneys at Pumphrey Law will work with you, examine the evidence in your case and fight for your rights.
The Pumphrey Law represents clients charged with a variety of property crimes throughout Tallahassee, Leon County and the greater Florida panhandle region. No matter the charge, your case is important to Pumphrey Law. Call (850) 681-7777 to discuss your case and the best defense against the charges.
The penalties for criminal mischief in Florida are determined by the amount of damage caused to the property. Under Florida Statute Section 806.13(5)(a), the amounts of value of damage to property owned by separate persons, if the property was damaged during one scheme or course of conduct, may be aggregated in determining the grade of the offense under this section.
If the damage to such property is $200 or less, the crime is a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.
In Florida, if the damage to property is more than $200 but less than $1,000, it is a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable by up to 12 months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
If the damage is worth $1,000 or more, it is a third-degree felony. In Florida, a third-degree felony is punishable up to five years in a Florida State Prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
The penalties for criminal mischief in North Florida also can be enhanced to a third-degree felony if the person charged has a prior conviction for criminal mischief.
In addition, the penalties for criminal mischief may be more severe and upgraded to a third-degree felony if the person maliciously damages by any means any church, synagogue, mosque or another place of worship. This also includes any religious article contained therein, and if the damage to the property is greater than $200.
The criminal mischief offense can be charged as a third-degree felony if there is an interruption or impairment of a business operation or public communication, transportation, supply of water, gas or power or another public service, which costs $1,000 or more in labor and supplies to restore.
Crimes of criminal mischief involving graffiti have separate penalties than others. The Florida legislature established minimum mandatory fines if the violation is related to the placement of graffiti. If convicted, you could face a fine of:
You also could face at least 40 hours of community service and, if possible, a requirement that the defendant perform at least 100 hours of community service that involves the removal of graffiti.
For juveniles charged with criminal mischief, the parent or legal guardian of the minor is liable, along with the minor for payment of the fine.
The court may impose a one-year driver’s license revocation for any minor found to have committed a delinquent act of criminal mischief for placing graffiti on any public property or private property.
The Florida legislature specifically found the blight of graffiti warranted municipalities and counties the right to establish their own city or county ordinances to prohibit the marking of graffiti or other graffiti-related offenses. The penalties for those city and county graffiti ordinances can be higher than those established under Florida Statute Section 806.13.
If you have been charged with criminal mischief, contact the Pumphrey Law The team of experienced Tallahassee criminal mischief defense attorneys will represent you and fight for you at every stage of the case. Call (850) 681-7777 to speak directly to an attorney about the charges you face and the best defense you can build. Contact us today and schedule your free legal consultation.
Article last updated August 5, 2016.
Attorney Don Pumphrey, Jr. is a former prosecutor, former law enforcement officer, and a successful and experienced criminal defense attorney. Don has achieved over 100 not guilty verdicts at trial and over 2,000 dismissals.
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