Felony Criminal Mischief

by ECL Writer
Is Car Theft A Felony In Washington State?

Even breaking a light bulb in an apartment building corridor or purposefully scratching your name into a mailbox is the misdemeanor offense of criminal mischief. In other words, it is illegal to willfully harm someone else’s property without their permission, no matter how minor the damage may be. However compared to the fourth-degree criminal mischief misdemeanor, New York Penal Code 145.00, the felony crimes involving criminal mischief are much more severe.

Even though criminal defense attorneys in New York with experience in Criminal Mischief cases won’t be able to make accusations go away with a wave of the hand, they should be able to help you navigate the criminal justice system, explain the law to you, and build a solid defense after reviewing the evidence—or lack thereof—in your case. What may have first looked insurmountable to you may soon give way to a far brighter outcome if you are equipped with the knowledge and the appropriate guidance.

Felony Criminal Mischief Degrees

Third Degree Criminal Mischief: Understanding NY Penal Law 145.05

The crucial clause of this section relates to the harm you are alleged to have purposefully caused to another person’s property without their consent, even though Criminal Mischief in the Third Degree permits prosecutors to “bump up” the Fourth Degree offense to a Third Degree crime in certain situations. It makes no difference what the item is—a car, a painting, a cell phone—or how it happened—whether someone “keyed” the passenger-side car door or smashed the phone on the ground. If you willfully destroy someone else’s property as stated above and the damage exceeds $250 but doesn’t reach $1,500, you are guilty of third-degree criminal mischief under New York Penal Code 145.05(2).

A judge may sentence you to as little as (or as much as) one year of “city time” on Rikers Island if you are tried in New York City or “county time” if your offense took place in one of the many counties in the Hudson Valley, including Westchester, Dutchess, Putnam, and Rockland. Thankfully, provided you are not a predicate felon, mandatory detention is not necessary, and if your defenses to the substantive crime are ineffective or unavailable, your criminal lawyer might be able to obtain a non-jail sentence for you.

Second Degree Criminal Mischief: NY Penal Law 145.10

Criminal Mischief in the Second Degree uses the same terminology as the two lower-level charges. That is, you are in violation of New York Penal Code 145.10 if you harm someone else’s property without their consent or authorization. You are guilty of this felony if the District Attorney establishes beyond a reasonable doubt that you intended to cause damage of a value in excess of $1,500.

A class “D” crime, according to NY Penal Code 145.10. Second Degree Criminal Mischief carries a potential jail sentence of up to seven years in a New York State prison, which is a harsher punishment than minor offenses. Any imprisonment in a facility other than a jail can send a person “upstate,” regardless of where they were arrested—in the New York City boroughs of Manhattan, Brooklyn, or Queens, or in the lower Hudson Valley communities of Nyack, New Rochelle, Beacon, or Brewster.

First Degree Criminal Mischief: NY Penal Law 145.12

Although criminal mischief in the first degree is the most serious offense, it is also the least frequently charged level of criminal mischief. According to New York Criminal Code 145.12, it is not the amount of harm that matters, but rather how you caused it. Simply put, if you use an explosive to cause damage to someone else’s property, the police will charge you with a First Degree of Criminal Mischief, and the District Attorney will bring charges against you. The fact that this offense, NY Penal Law 145.15, is a class “B” felony punishable by up to twenty-five years in prison and a required minimum jail sentence makes it especially terrifying.

In the end, every misdemeanor and felony arrest involving these crimes is a victim offense, regardless of the level of criminal mischief you are charged with or the District Attorney’s Office taking the lead in prosecuting you. Do not ignore the fact that no crime in New York will ever be expunged, and even if you are not incarcerated on a felony, such a stain will ruin your life, career, legal status in the United States, professional certifications, and much more. The victim may be a former friend, ex-spouse, an unknown building owner, or the taxpayers of the City or State of New York.

Leave a Comment

This blog is ONLY for informational or educational purposes and DOES NOT substitute professional legal advise. We take no responsibility or credit for what you do with this info.