What are the Penalties for Vandalism?
Written by Moses & Rooth Attorneys at Law on September 19, 2018
In Florida, vandalism is called “criminal mischief” and it is covered by Florida statute 806.13. If you have been accused of criminal mischief, you will need an aggressive criminal defense attorney on your team. Penalties can be quite serious, and you will need to begin building a defense right away.
Defining Criminal Mischief
A person commits criminal mischief if they “willfully and maliciously” damage or injure someone else’s real or personal property. This damage can include drawing graffiti on the property.
A few things jump out about this definition. The damage or injury must be willful or malicious, which basically means intentional. If you accidentally get in a car accident and slam into the side of someone’s house, you have not committed criminal mischief since you lacked the intent under the statute.
You can also damage either real property (real estate) or personal property. If you harm a person, then that is a different crime (usually assault or battery).
Your punishment will depend on how much damage you inflicted:
- If the damage is $200 or less, then you have committed a second-degree misdemeanor.
- If the damage is more than $200 but less than $1,000, you have committed a first-degree misdemeanor.
- If the damage is $1,000 or more, then you have committed a third-degree felony.
- If the damage interrupts the operation of a business or public services (such as the supply of water, gas, power or transportation or communication), then it is a third-degree felony regardless of the amount of damage.
Jail time depends on whether you were convicted of a misdemeanor or a felony:
- A second-degree misdemeanor can carry up to 60 days in jail
- A first-degree misdemeanor might result in up to one year in jail
- A third-degree felony can result in up to 5 years in prison
Those convicted can also be fined:
- A second-degree misdemeanor: up to $500
- A first-degree misdemeanor: up to $1,000
- A third-degree misdemeanor: up to $5,000
The amount of time you serve in jail or the amount of your fine will depend on many factors, so you should hire an Orlando criminal defense attorney to review your circumstances.
Special Punishments for Graffiti
The law also imposes a fine for graffiti, which depends on whether this is your first or a subsequent offense:
- At least $250 if this is your first offense
- At least $500 if this is your second offense
- At least $1,000 if this is your third or subsequent offense
Parents will be required to pay this fine if their minor child defaced property with graffiti. Offenders will also need to perform at least 40-100 hours of community service, which can include the removal of graffiti from buildings.
Speak to an Orlando Criminal Defense Attorney
Criminal mischief is a serious crime that carries stiff consequences. At Moses & Rooth, we work aggressively to get a favorable outcome for our clients, which could include a dismissal, reduced charges, or an acquittal.
For help building your defense, call us today at 407-377-0150. We offer a free consultation. You have no time to lose.