Criminal Mischief NJAccording to New Jersey law, criminal mischief is when a person purposely or knowingly damages tangible or physical property of another or when a person purposely or recklessly tampers with someone’s physical property to endanger the other person or their property. A few examples of this offense include setting off a cherry bomb in another’s mailbox, destroying their television, furniture, or any other object. It is important to realize that this offense is limited to tangible or physical property and does not exceed to intangible property, for example a copyright or patent.

Damage to Property

The main premise of this offense is that actual damage to the property of another must occur in some way. It may seem like a harmless action, but comes with a punishment ranging from a disorderly person offense if the damage is less than $500 and an indictable crime if the damage exceeds that amount. Either punishment unfortunately comes with a criminal record. The disorderly person offense comes with a punishment of up to 6 months in jail. If the damage is more than $500 but less than $2,000, or if the damage is to a sign, signal, light, or a device related to air traffic, the crime is referred to as fourth degree and comes with a consequence of up to 18 months in prison.

In the event the damage exceeds $2,000 or substantially interrupts public transportation, communication, ability to receive water, gas, power, or gravesite, the crime is of the third degree and is punishable by 3 to 5 years incarceration. In the event the damage done is that of the fourth degree, but bodily injury was sustained, the offense is upgraded to a third degree.  If death is caused, offense becomes a second degree.

Seek the Help of an Attorney for Criminal Mischief Charges

If you have been charged with criminal mischief, you may not understand the seriousness or the potential implications that can follow a guilty verdict. An experienced attorney can help you determine the best course of action for your case. Call me, defense attorney David C. Barry, today at (732) 238-8686. I have the experience you need to build your defense against a criminal mischief charge.