Criminal Mischief Lawyer – Brett A. Podolsky
In Texas, criminal mischief involves the willful and malicious destruction of public or private property. It is a common crime among juvenile defendants, and some things that could be considered criminal mischief may include:
- Breaking windows
- “Egging” or spray painting cars
- “Tagging” or doing graffiti
- Destroying fences, retaining walls or gardens
- Smashing mailboxes
Texas Defacing Property Penalties
Criminal mischief is typically prosecuted as a misdemeanor crime. However, there are occasions when it is charged as a state jail felony. When determining the seriousness of this crime, a number of things will be considered, including the extent of the property damage and whether or not a defacing property crime was intended to be threatening in nature. Age will also play a factor, since adults are typically sentenced more harshly than juveniles are. Since the charges can vary widely, there is also a wide range of punishments:
- Jail time of up to two years
- A fine of up to $10,000
- Community service
Defenses for Destruction of Property
Vandalism charges sometimes arise due to the false identification of a suspect. Individuals can be mistakenly identified on surveillance tapes, or they match the description of someone else who was reportedly caught committing a defacing property crime. In these instances, a vandalism attorney will attempt to show the jury that the defendant was not actually the person who committed the act. This can be done by introducing an alibi whenever possible or by questioning witnesses in order to determine if mistaken identity is an issue.
According to the Texas Penal Code, in order for criminal mischief to be punishable, destruction of property must occur without the owner’s permission. If an individual believed consent had actually been granted for certain acts, an affirmative defense could then be raised, since destroying property with an owner’s permission is not against the law.
A defacing property lawyer will sometimes argue as to the value of the belongings that had been damaged. This can be important when it is questionable as to whether the crime should be charged as a felony or misdemeanor, as property value is largely what determines this.
Call a Criminal Mischief Lawyer in Houston, TX to Get Help
Even when charged as a misdemeanor, a criminal mischief conviction can have far-reaching consequences. An aggressive destruction of property attorney such as Brett A. Podolsky is needed in order to prevail in court. Board-certified in criminal law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, Mr. Podolsky fights just as hard in misdemeanor cases as he does in felony ones.
For a free legal consultation, call Houston criminal mischief attorney Brett A. Podolsky at 713-227-0087.