Trenton NJ Criminal Mischief Lawyer
With Offices in Trenton and Pennington, NJ
New Jersey law enforcement takes crimes against property very seriously. One of the most common crimes against property in the State of New Jersey is criminal mischief. Many times, criminal mischief charges stem from kids messing around on property that they thought was abandoned. There is rarely any malicious intent. For example, minors often commit vandalism or an act of graffiti on properties that they don’t think anyone cares about. It is also not uncommon for a late night out with friends to lead to property damage. This is especially common when the partying involves alcohol. Although vandalism and other acts of graffiti might not seem all that serious, you can actually be charged with a felony-level offense and sentenced to state prison time for criminal mischief in New Jersey.
Kamensky Cohen & Riechelson is a highly respected law firm with a rich tradition of excellence in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Our criminal defense lawyers defend clients against charges of criminal mischief throughout Mercer County, including Princeton, Hopewell, and Ewing. We will do what is necessary to get your charges downgraded or dismissed so that you can avoid prison and keep your permanent record clear of a criminal conviction. Call KCR today to begin your defense.
N.J.S.A. 2C:17-3: Criminal Mischief Charges in Mercer County
Criminal mischief in New Jersey is addressed by N.J.S.A. 2C:17-3. The statute covers a wide range of conduct:
- It is against the law for anyone to purposely or knowingly damage the tangible property of another person.
- It is also against the law for anyone to damage the tangible property of another person while recklessly or negligently employing fire, explosives, or other dangerous means.
- The law also prohibits anyone from purposely, knowingly, or recklessly tampering with the tangible property of another person so as to endanger either person or property. This includes the damage or destruction of a rental premises by a tenant in retaliation for the landlord starting eviction proceedings.
Some examples of criminal mischief include: an act of graffiti such as spray painting a wall; breaking a window; kicking in a door; damaging a street sign; damaging headstones at a cemetery; tampering with telephone lines; destroying rental property.
Penalties for Criminal Mischief in Hamilton NJ
The penalties for criminal mischief vary, depending upon the type of property and the amount of damage caused.
Second Degree Felony – 5–10 Years in NJ State Prison:
- The property damage involved the impairment of public service and the impairment caused a death.
- The defendant damaged, removed, or impeded the operation of any device which serves to regulate or ensure the safety of air traffic and the action recklessly caused a death.
- The defendant interfered or tampered with any airport and the conduct recklessly caused a death.
Third Degree Felony – 3–5 Years in NJ State Prison:
- The property damage is $2,000 or more.
- The defendant caused a substantial interruption or impairment of public communication, transportation, supply of water, gas, or power, or some other public service.
- The defendant damaged, defaced, eradicated, altered, received, released, or caused the loss of any research property used by a research facility.
- The defendant damaged, removed, or impeded the operation of any device which serves to regulate or ensure the safety of air traffic and the action recklessly caused bodily injury or property damage.
- The defendant interfered or tampered with any airport and the conduct recklessly caused bodily injury or property damage.
- The defendant tampered with a grave, crypt, mausoleum, or other site where human remains are stored or interred.
Fourth Degree Felony – Up to 18 Months in NJ State Prison:
- The property damage is between $500 and $2,000.
- The offense involved damaging, removing, or impairing the operation of any device such as a sign, signal, light, or other equipment which serves to regulate or ensure the safety of air traffic.
- The defendant interfered or tampered with any airport, landing field, or aviation facility.
Disorderly Persons Offense – Up to 6 Months in Jail:
- The property damage is less than $500.
If the criminal mischief charge stemmed from an act of graffiti, you may be required to pay monetary restitution to cover the cost of the property damage. The court can also require you to perform at least 20 days of community service; this will typically involve removal of the graffiti from the property.
Free Consultation with a Lawrence NJ Criminal Mischief Attorney
Kamensky Cohen & Riechelson will help you fight your criminal mischief charges. Call us day or night to discuss your case with a member of our litigation team, or fill out the online contact form to schedule a meeting at our Pennington or Trenton offices.