Criminal Mischief charges are most commonly associated with domestic disputes that result in destruction of property or random acts of vandalism. Whether you broke your boyfriend/girlfriend’s phone during a heated argument or you defaced someone’s car, criminal mischief charges will likely be filed and require that you appear in court. In those instances where the criminal mischief involves an act of domestic violence, the criminal charges could result in your arrest and detention pending a formal detention hearing before a Burlington County Superior Court Judge. In these situations, it is particularly important that you retain legal counsel to assist you or your loved one. Whether you are being charged with criminal mischief, Domestic Violence, Trespassing, Simple Assault, Harassment, Terroristic Threats or Endangering the Welfare of a Child, the criminal lawyers at Proetta & Oliver are available to assist you with your case. Having spent our careers practice criminal defense, our trial attorneys are well-prepared to represent you or your family member in any pending matters.
For the specific language and law on New Jersey’s Criminal Mischief laws, you would need to read and understand N.J.S.A. 2C:17-3(a). Under the Criminal Mischief statute, it is a violation to either:
(1) Purposely or knowingly damage tangible property of another or damage tangible property of another recklessly or negligently in the employment of fire, explosives or other dangerous means listed in subsection a. of N.J.S.A. 2C:17-2; or (2) Purposely, knowingly or recklessly tamper with tangible property of another so as to endanger person or property, including the damaging or destroying of a rental premises by a tenant in retaliation for institution of eviction proceedings.
What becomes crucial in these cases is how the Prosecutor can prove your conduct was done either “purposely, knowingly or recklessly.” Moreover, a strong criminal defense attorney will exploit other weakness in the State’s case, such as proof of ownership regarding the damage property. You should speak with an attorney to determine if any of these issues could affect your case.
What are NJ Criminal Mischief Penalties?
As mentioned above, criminal mischief charges and corresponding penalties will vary on the facts of the case. Specifically, the value of the damaged property will determine the degree and level of your charges. A more detailed breakdown of the charges is listed below:
Criminal Mischief Third Degree Charges
You will be charged with Third Degree Criminal Mischief if the damaged property is in excess of $2,000. The penalties for this offense include up to five (5) years in a New Jersey State Prison, a $15,000 fine, probation, possible restitution and a criminal record.
Criminal Mischief Fourth Degree Charges
You will be charged with Fourth Degree Criminal Mischief if the damaged property is between $500 and $2,000. The penalties for this offense include up to eighteen (18) months in a New Jersey State Prison, a $10,000 fine, probation, possible restitution and a criminal record.
Criminal Mischief Disorderly Persons Offense
You will be charged with Disorderly Persons Criminal Mischief if the damaged property is less than $500. The penalties for this offense include up to six (6) months in the Burlington County Jail, a $1,000 fine, probation, possible restitution and a criminal record.
Can I go to Jail for New Jersey Criminal Mischief Charges?
The possibility of jail or imprisonment for criminal mischief charges will depend upon the facts of the case and the defendants criminal history. However, for first time offenders, criminal mischief charges may be eligible for resolution through diversionary programs like Pretrial Intervention or Conditional Dismissal, depending upon the case. Both of these programs offer the possibility for dismissal of the charges, subject to successful completion of a term of probation. This means that you could walk-away from the entire incident without a criminal record or conviction. For more information on these programs and whether or not you are eligible, please contact our office.
Pemberton Criminal Mischief Attorney
If you or someone in your family have been arrested for a criminal offense in Burlington County, contact the criminal defense attorneys at Proetta & Oliver. Our office represents the accused throughout New Jersey and Burlington County. If you have an upcoming court date or hearing, please do not hesitate to reach out to our office. We are available day and night for your convenience. Whether your case is before the Burlington County Superior Court or one of the local municipal courts, our firm is able to provide assistance. For your immediate and complimentary consultation, contact (609) 850-8284 today.
Our phones are answered 24 hours a day. We are available weekdays during business hours. We also meet with clients on evenings and weekends by request. We have four office locations conveniently located in Mount Laurel, Point Pleasant, Princeton and Middletown. All major credit cards are accepted.