Orlando Attorney on Criminal Mischief (Vandalism) in Florida
In Florida, Criminal Mischief, essentially the legal term for vandalism, consists of destroying or damaging someone else’s property. Depending on the extent of the damage caused and previous convictions of the defendant, it can be either a felony or a misdemeanor.
Elements of Criminal Mischief in Florida
Under Sec. 806.13 of the Florida Statutes, Criminal Mischief is committed when a person willfully and maliciously causes damage to any property belonging to another person (including by placing graffiti on it). Here, willfully and maliciously imply that you intentionally damaged the property without any kind of valid excuse.
Penalties for Criminal Mischief in Florida
The penalties for criminal mischief in Florida vary based on the damage amount, any prior conviction of criminal mischief, and other factors. They are as follows:
|$200 or less and no prior conviction
|Second-degree misdemeanor, up to 60 days in jail or 6 months of probation, $500 fine
|More than $200 but less than $1,000 and no prior conviction
|First-degree misdemeanor, up to 1 year in jail or 1 year of probation, $1,000 fine
|Prior conviction or $1,000 or more in damage, or damaging/interrupting public utilities
|Third-degree felony, up to 5 years in prison or 5 years of probation, $5,000 fine
Florida law also prescribes additional penalties if the offense is related to graffiti and if the offender is a minor.
Defending a Charge of Criminal Mischief
The defense of a criminal mischief charge usually hinges on the elements of intent. Since a conviction requires the damage to be “willful and malicious,” unintentional damage could form the basis of your defense. However, other potential defenses may also be applicable, depending on your circumstances.
Here are some strategies an experienced attorney can use to challenge the State’s case or prove your innocence:
- Moving to suppress evidence that was obtained in violation of your constitutional rights.
- Providing evidence that contradicts the charges.
- Presentation of an alibi.
If you or someone close to you is being investigated for the crime of Criminal Mischief, an experienced criminal lawyer can be your best asset. At Leppard Law, we are aware of the severe penalties associated with criminal mischief. We serve clients in the greater Central Florida area, including: Orange County, Seminole County, Brevard County, Lake County, Volusia County, and Osceola County. Contact us by calling 407-476-4111 or texting 407-476-4111 to discuss defenses and strategies to defend against the charges.
Frequently Asked Questions
What constitutes Criminal Mischief in Florida?
Criminal Mischief, also known as vandalism, involves willfully and maliciously damaging another person’s property.
What are the potential penalties for Criminal Mischief in Florida?
Penalties can range from misdemeanors to felonies, with fines from $500 to $5,000 and potential jail or probation time, depending on the extent of the damage and prior convictions.
How can an attorney defend me against a charge of Criminal Mischief?
An experienced attorney can employ several strategies, including challenging the evidence, contradicting the charges, or presenting an alibi to fight against a charge of Criminal Mischief.
What areas does Leppard Law serve?
Leppard Law serves clients in the greater Central Florida area, including Orange County, Seminole County, Brevard County, Lake County, Volusia County, and Osceola County.
You can contact Leppard Law by calling or texting 407-476-4111 to discuss potential defenses and strategies against the charges.