The criminal attorneys at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall represent clients charged in Passaic County New Jersey with an indictable or a disorderly person offense like criminal mischief. In NJ, an arrest for criminal mischief can arise out of any number of scenarios including a domestic dispute, a road rage incident, trespassing, or vandalism. Depending on the nature and value of the property damaged, criminal mischief may be charged as a disorderly offense (a.k.a. misdemeanor) or as a felony (i.e. indictable crime of the second degree, third degree or fourth degree). A conviction for criminal mischief results in a criminal record and may therefore result in adverse consequences in obtaining employment, obtaining financing or even housing. If you have been charged with criminal mischief in Wayne, Clifton, Little Falls, Paterson, Passaic City, Hawthorne, North Haledon or some other jurisdiction, you deserve representation by the best lawyer you can afford. The attorneys at our office would like to help you and we possess a team that has over 100 years of experience defending criminal mischief charges. Contact one of the lawyers at The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall for a free initial consultation at 862-203-4070.
Wayne NJ Criminal Mischief Defense Attorneys
New Jersey Criminal Mischief Law – N.J.S.A. 2C:17-3
The offense of criminal mischief is governed by N.J.S.A. 2C:17-3, which provides in pertinent part:
a. Offense defined. A person is guilty of criminal mischief if he or she:
(1) Purposely or knowingly damages tangible property of another or damages tangible property of another recklessly or negligently in the employment of fire, explosives or other dangerous means; or
(2) Purposely, knowingly or recklessly tampers with tangible property of another so as to endanger person or property, including the damaging or destroying of a rental premises by a tenant in retaliation for institution of eviction proceedings.
b. Grading. (1) Criminal mischief is a crime of the third degree if the actor purposely or knowingly causes pecuniary loss of $2,000.00 or more.
(2) Criminal mischief is a crime of the fourth degree if the actor causes pecuniary loss in excess of $500.00 but less than $2000.00. It is a disorderly persons offense if the actor causes pecuniary loss of $500.00 or less.
(3) Criminal mischief is a crime of the third degree if the actor damages, defaces, eradicates, alters, receives, releases or causes the loss of any research property used by the research facility, or otherwise causes physical disruption to the functioning of the research facility.
(4) Criminal mischief is a crime of the fourth degree if the actor damages, removes or impairs the operation of any device, including, but not limited to, a sign, signal, light or other equipment, which serves to regulate or ensure the safety of air traffic at any airport, landing field, landing strip, heliport, helistop or any other aviation facility; however, if the damage, removal or impediment of the device recklessly causes bodily injury or damage to property, the actor is guilty of a crime of the third degree, or if it recklessly causes a death, the actor is guilty of a crime of the second degree.
(5) Criminal mischief is a crime of the fourth degree if the actor interferes or tampers with any airport, landing field, landing strip, heliport, helistop or any other aviation facility; however if the interference or tampering with the airport, landing field, landing strip, heliport, helistop or other aviation facility recklessly causes bodily injury or damage to property, the actor is guilty of a crime of the third degree, or if it recklessly causes a death, the actor is guilty of a crime of the second degree.
(6) Criminal mischief is a crime of the third degree if the actor tampers with a grave, crypt, mausoleum or other site where human remains are stored or interred, with the purpose to desecrate, destroy or steal such human remains or any part thereof.
(7) Criminal mischief is a crime of the third degree if the actor purposely or knowingly causes a substantial interruption or impairment of public communication, transportation, supply of water, oil, gas or power, or other public service. Criminal mischief is a crime of the second degree if the substantial interruption or impairment recklessly causes death.
(8) Criminal mischief is a crime of the fourth degree if the actor purposely or knowingly breaks, digs up, obstructs or otherwise tampers with any pipes or mains for conducting gas, oil or water, or any works erected for supplying buildings with gas, oil or water, or any appurtenances or appendages therewith connected, or injures, cuts, breaks down, destroys or otherwise tampers with any electric light wires, poles or appurtenances, or any telephone, telecommunications, cable television or telegraph wires, lines, cable or appurtenances.
c. A person convicted of an offense of criminal mischief that involves an act of graffiti may, in addition to any other penalty imposed by the court, be required to pay to the owner of the damaged property monetary restitution in the amount of the pecuniary damage caused by the act of graffiti and to perform community service, which shall include removing the graffiti from the property, if appropriate.
e. A person convicted of an offense of criminal mischief that involves the damaging or destroying of a rental premises by a tenant in retaliation for institution of eviction proceedings, may, in addition to any other penalty imposed by the court, be required to pay to the owner of the property monetary restitution in the amount of the pecuniary damage caused by the damage or destruction.
New Jersey Criminal Mischief Law Explained. A charge for criminal mischief can only be brought when damage is caused to tangible property. In order to achieve a conviction for this offense, the prosecutor must prove that the defendant acted intentionally, negligently and/or recklessly in causing the damage. The penalties upon conviction can include substantial fines, county jail time, restitution to the property owner, and a criminal record. When a charge is brought for juvenile criminal mischief, the parent or guardian can be held liable for the damage under N.J.S.A. 2A:53A-15.
Criminal Mischief Lawyers in Clifton NJ
Do not put your legal rights in jeopardy. You want an attorney who will explore all possible defenses to a charge of criminal mischief. When seeking a conviction for criminal mischief, the prosecutor must establish that the property in question belonged to someone else. If you own the property in question, either in whole or in part, we may be able to bring a successful defense on your behalf. Additionally, the alleged incident must have occurred in a reckless, negligent, or purposeful manner. If you were involved in a traffic accident and caused damage unintentionally and through no fault of you own, we may be able to get the charge against you dismissed. If you are facing a charge of criminal mischief, you want an experienced criminal attorney by your side to ensure that the charge does not mushroom into a life-altering event that clouds your future. If you or a loved one has been arrested for or charged with criminal mischief, disorderly conduct, shoplifting, simple assault, receiving stolen property don’t risk sacrificing your legal rights or your personal freedom. Please contact the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall today for a free case evaluation with a proven trial lawyer at 862-203-4070. You have nothing to lose by calling, and together we can discuss your case and determine exactly what your best legal options are.