Criminal Mischief Defense
The Law Offices of Leon Matchin, LLC represents those accused of criminal complaints in New Jersey. A common criminal complaint is criminal mischief- a disorderly persons offense. Criminal mischief is defined in New Jersey statute N.J.S.A. 2C:17-3, as a defendant purposely or knowingly damaging tangible property of another or if a defendant purposely or recklessly – conscious disregard of a substantial risk of danger to the other person or property – tampers with another person’s tangible – physical / real – property so as to endanger the person or property. Examples of criminal mischief include graffiti, tampering with gas or water mains, or tampering with a grave; penalties for these types of crimes are based upon the value of the property damaged and are outlined as follows:
Criminal Mischief Penalties in NJ
- for damages valued less than $500, the defendant would be charged only with a disorderly person offense. This can carry a penalty of up to six months in county jail and other fines and penalties.
- for damages resulting in losses between $500 and $2000, or if there is any damage or removal or impairment of air traffic devices or tampering of any kind with any airport, landing field, or aviation facility, then the potential prison sentence may be up to 18 months. This would be considered a fourth degree crime.
- for damages resulting in losses of $2000 or more, or if the act causes substantial interruption of a public utility or communication system, or if damage involved the loss of property used at research facilities or disruption to the facility, or if there was tampering of any kind with a grave, crypt, or mausoleum with the intent of destroying or removing anything therein – including human remains – the potential sentence would be up to 3 to 5 years in a state penitentiary. This would be a third degree criminal offense.
A person convicted of a disorderly persons offense is also subject to a criminal record as well as fees and assessments from the Victims of Crime Compensation Board and Safe Neighborhood Services Fund.
Call Today for a Free Consultation
If you have been accused of criminal mischief you should contact The Law Offices of Leon Matchin, LLC immediately at (732) 662-7658 for a free consultation. Our firm has been practicing criminal defense in Central New Jersey for more than ten years and may be able to get the charges against you dismissed or downgraded. Call today for a free consultation and let our firm protect your rights and freedom.