Philadelphia Vandalism Lawyer
Maybe an otherwise innocent prank went a little too far. Or maybe, in the heat of the moment, you made an impulsive bad choice. No matter the motivation, if you took an action which resulted in the destruction of another’s property, you could be facing charges of Vandalism or Criminal Mischief.
Vandalism is an offense that occurs when an individual destroys or defaces someone else’s property without their permission. Acts of vandalism can include graffiti, damage to vehicles, broken windows or even destruction to a person’s website. While to some, vandalism is considered to be a work of art, it is nonetheless in the eyes of the law a crime against property.
There are definitely talented artists who have a skill to decorate cities with their art, however doing so on someone elses’s property without permission is a crime. Vandalism has the potential to cost the state millions of dollars in repair and cleanup efforts, and in some cases cause emotional damage to property owners’. If you or your child have been charged with Vandalism or a related offense, you need to act now to prepare a defense. The criminal defense lawyers at The Law Offices of Greg Prosmushkin, P.C. can help.
What Is Vandalism?
In Pennsylvania, Vandalism typically results in one of two charges: Criminal Mischief or institutional vandalism.
Criminal mischief is the act of intentionally damaging, destroying, or defacing the property of another individual. Institutional vandalism is the act of intentionally damaging, destroying, or defacing an institution, such as a school, government building, courthouse, school, or place of worship.
Though these crimes are the same in terms of the act itself, they differ in regards of the victim and the penalties. This distinction is important with regards to understanding the charges and the gravity of the offense with which you have been charged.
Remember, any action where you “intentionally damage, destroy, or deface” another’s property may be considered vandalism. So if your teenager and his friends play what they believe is just a prank, but it results in damage to a neighbor’s property or the defacing of school property, they may be guilty of criminal mischief or institutional vandalism. Likewise, if you were to participate in a demonstration or protest that became unruly, and you contributed to damaging a local business or defacing a government building, you may be guilty of criminal mischief or institutional vandalism.
Penalties for Criminal Mischief and Institutional Vandalism
If you or your child are a minor, it is likely that your attorney will attempt to have the case heard in a juvenile court. This would obviously be preferable, as potential incarceration would be avoided and punishment would be limited to lesser fines, restitution, probation, and/or juvenile detention. It is important that your lawyer do what he or she can to ensure your minor is treated as such in court.
As for adults, the penalties for criminal mischief and institutional vandalism depend upon the value of the damage done to the property at issue.
- Damage amounting to less than $150 amounts to a summary offense. Potential penalties include up to a $300 fine and 90 days imprisonment.
- Damage from $150 up to $999 is a misdemeanor of the third degree. Potential penalties include fines and up to one year imprisonment.
- Damage from $1000 to $5000 is a misdemeanor of the second degree. Potential penalties include fines and up to two years imprisonment.
- Damage in excess of $5000 is a felony of the third degree. Potential penalties include fines and up to seven years imprisonment.
- Any damage of $5000 or less is a misdemeanor of the second degree. Potential penalties include fines and up to two years imprisonment.
- Any damage in excess of $5000 is a felony of the third degree. Potential penalties include fines and up to seven years imprisonment.
Why Do I Need a Lawyer?
With potential penalties including juvenile detention or jail time, both criminal mischief and institutional vandalism are serious offenses, and therefore require an equally serious defense. The criminal defense attorneys at The Law Offices of Greg Prosmushkin, P.C. will challenge the element of intent, as well as any adverse evidence that may be presented against you. Call today to schedule a free initial consultation with one of our attorneys.
This content was written on behalf of Greg Prosmushkin.