Woodbridge NJ Criminal Mischief Lawyer
Criminal Defense Attorneys in Middlesex County, New Jersey
Criminal mischief charges are often the result of vandalism, as in the case of spray painting or the destruction of valuables during a domestic dispute. A charge of criminal mischief can be quite serious, as the degree of crime varies depending upon the amount of property that has been damaged. Under New Jersey law, it does not matter if the property is public, private, or even if it appears to be abandoned, which is often the case. A conviction for criminal mischief carries penalties such as mandatory community service, probation, thousands of dollars in restitution and possibly even jail. It is for these reasons that it is very important to hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer who will defend your interests. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Proetta & Oliver represent clients who have been charged with criminal mischief throughout Middlesex County, including Edison, Sayreville, Helmetta, New Brunswick, Monroe Township, and East Brunswick. Our lawyers strive to have criminal mischief charges downgraded to municipal ordinance status or even dismissed altogether, depending upon the particular facts of each case. Contact our office today for a free initial consultation with an experienced criminal mischief defense attorney at (732) 659-9600.
Criminal Mischief Defense Lawyer in New Brunswick NJ
Under New Jersey Statute 2C: 17-3, criminal mischief has been given a very broad meaning that encompasses a wide range of criminal actions and property damaged. Generally, the degree of the crime is determined by the type of property that has been damaged as well as the amount of monetary loss involved. The New Jersey criminal mischief statute explains that a person is guilty of criminal mischief if he or she purposely or knowingly damages someone else’s property; damages another person’s tangible property recklessly or negligently while using fire, explosives, or other dangerous means; or purposely, knowingly or recklessly tampers with somone else’s property in a manner that endangers the person or property (including damaging or destroying a rental property by a tenant who is being evicted).
The grading of a charge for criminal mischief is based on the estimated monetary value of the property that was damaged in the course of the offense. Specifically, criminal mischief is a third degree crime if the property damage amounts to $2,000.00 or more. It is a fourth degree offense if the damage is between $500.00 and $2000.00. Lastly, it is a disorderly persons offense if the actor causes damage amounting to $500.00 or less. In the most serious criminal mischief cases, the offense will be charged as a second degree crime if it involved a disruption or tampering with a public service and someone was injured or killed as a result of the offense.
Criminal Mischief Sentencing in New Jersey
To help you understand the potential penalties for a violation of the criminal mischief (vandalism) statute in New Jersey Law, a chart is provided below outlining the degree of crimes and penalties as they pertain to criminal mischief charges in NJ.
|Disorderly Persons Criminal Mischief: if damage to the property is under $500 or if the damage is considered nominal and cannot be determined||Penalties include up to 6 months in the county jail, a maximum fine of $1,000, and a criminal record|
|Fourth Degree Criminal Mischief: if the damage exceeds $500 but is less than $2,000 or if public gas, oil, water lines, or telephone wires are tampered with||Sentencing guidelines allow for up to 18 months in New Jersey State Prison and a fine of up to $10,000|
|Third Degree Criminal Mischief: if the damage to the property is $2,000 or more||Possible consequences of imprisonment for between 3 and 5 years and a fine of $15,000|
|Second Degree Criminal Mischief: if public services were tampered with and the damage or interruption of the services caused a death||A conviction may lead to incarceration for between 5 and 10 years and a maximum fine of $150,000|
The penalties for criminal mischief in New Jersey also include community service and restitution payments to the victim. In fact, vandalism charges involving graffiti require mandatory community service where the person must spend time cleaning the property damaged during their offense.
Piscataway NJ Criminal Mischief & Vandalism Attorney
If you or a loved one is facing criminal mischief charges, do not take it lightly. Even a disorderly persons offense of criminal mischief will result in a permanent criminal record and potential exposure to jail, probation, and steep fines and other assessments. Due to the nature of the charge, it is common for our lawyers to represent clients for ancillary charges in connection with criminal mischief. These may include crimes such as Burglary and Defiant Trespass. As founding attorney, William A. Proetta, Esq. has personally handled scores of criminal and municipal court cases during his career. Of these cases include many successfully defended criminal mischief charges. We represent clients throughout Middlesex County including Plainsboro, South Brunswick, Old Bridge, Dunellen, and South Amboy and we are often able to negotiate a plea arrangement that does not result in a criminal conviction for the client. If you are interested in gaining assistance with the criminal mischief charge facing you or your loved one, then feel free to contact one of our experienced criminal mischief defense lawyers who will build a customized case strategy centered upon your legal needs and the facts of your case. Call us at (732) 659-9600 for a free consultation.