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Criminal Mischief

Criminal mischief is defined under Texas law as any sort of intentional damaging of property of another person. These charges can fall under a wide variety of situations, from simple graffiti to the destruction of entire buildings.

Property damages may seem minor, but they are harshly penalized in Texas. Some common examples of property damage can be keying a car, vandalism, or even arson.

Texas does not treat criminal mischief offenses kindly. Even simple "harmless" fun has the potential to harm community spaces or endanger the general public. Consequences vary based on intent and damage costs.

The severity of these punishments is no laughing matter. If one has been charged with criminal mischief they should contact an attorney immediately.

Attorneys for Criminal Mischief Crimes in Dallas, TX

Have you or someone you know been charged with criminal mischief? If so, it is crucial that you obtain legal counsel right away.

Criminal mischief offenses may possibly result in a felony. Felony charges can affect your personal and professional life. If you've been charged with criminal theft, do not be idle. Contact Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy and get legal representation from a qualified criminal defense attorney today.

Every attorney at Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy has the skill, resources, and experience to help your case. We strive to give our clients the best possible outcome. If you or someone you know has been charged with criminal mischief in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex area, contact us for legal representation.

With offices all over the Northern Texas area, including, Dallas, Allen, Fort Worth, Plano, and Denton, TX, we are experienced in Texas law. Call (972) 233-5700 anytime for criminal mischief or other related charges.


Criminal Mischief defined under Texas Penal Code 28.03

In Texas, you may have been charged with criminal mischief if the prosecution has reason to believe you performed any of the following:

  • Intentionally made inscriptions, graffiti, marks, drawings, slogans, or painting on the tangible property of the owner.
  • Intentionally damaged or destroyed tangible property of the owner.
  • Intentionally tampered with the tangible property of the owner and caused pecuniary loss or any substantial inconvenience to the owner.

Penalties for criminal mischief are classified by the value of damage done to the property, and the circumstances of the offense itself.


Examples of Criminal Mischief

Criminal mischief is an umbrella term. There are a wide variety of offenses that can apply to a criminal mischief charge. Some examples of criminal mischief may include, but are not limited to:

  • Damage to a habitation or home
    • Spray painting windows, tearing down fences, destroying yards, pulling out fixtures and so forth can result in criminal mischief charges. Even destroying one's own property, if they are shared by a community or spouse, can be classified as criminal mischief.
  • Damage to a school or school property
    • Etching on school desks, lockers, walls; plugging up toilets or sink drains; destroying school property such as computers, books, and gym equipment can land you a serious criminal mischief charge. An actor committing these acts just for the sake of "fun" or as a "prank" can still face serious penalties.
  • Damage to a place of business
    • Destroying phones, desks, windows, doors, or any sort of fixture within a business can result you in a criminal mischief offense.
  • Damage to an automobile
    • Slashing tires, keying a side-door, smashing headlamps, snapping windshield wipers, damaging the internal workings of an automobile, and more can be considered an act of criminal mischief.
  • Destruction or defacement of public or private property
    • Graffiti, destruction to public statues, spray painting walls, and other acts of public vandalism can be deemed as criminal mischief.

Penalties for Criminal Mischief in Texas

The Texas Penal Code organizes penalties for criminal mischief by criminal intent and the amount of property damage. In some cases, punishments are classified by how much interference or inconvenience the tampered property had to the owner.

Class C Misdemeanor

An offense is considered a Class C Misdemeanor if:

  • The amount of pecuniary loss is less than $50; or
  • It causes a substantial inconvenience to others.

A conviction of this offense may result in a fine up to $500.

Class B Misdemeanor

An offense is considered a Class C Misdemeanor if:

  • The amount of pecuniary loss is more than $50 but less than $500; or
  • It causes a substantial inconvenience to others.

A conviction of this offense may possibly lead to 180 days in jails and a possible fine up to $2,000.

Class A Misdemeanor

An offense is considered a Class A Misdemeanor if:

  • The amount of pecuniary loss is less than $500 and less than $1,500; or 
  • If the act results in damages less than $1,500 and causes interruption or impairment of public transportation, communications, gas, water, or any other public service.

A conviction of this offense may result in up to one year in jail, and a possible fine up to $4,000.

State Jail Felony

An offense is considered a State Jail Felony if:

  • The amount of pecuniary loss is between $1,500 to $20,000; or
  • Less than $1,500 of the property that was damaged is a habitation caused by a firearm or an explosive weapon; or
  • Less than $1,500 of the property was a fence used for the containment of:
    • Bison, horses, swine goats, exotic livestock or poultry, and cattle; or
    • Any game animals defined under section 63.001, Parks and Wildlife Code.

A conviction of this offense could result up to two years in state jail and a possible fine up to $10,000.

Third Degree Felony

An offense is considered a third degree felony if:

  • The amount of pecuniary loss is more than $20,000 but less than $100,000; or
  • The actor, using a fire arm or other weapon, causes the death of one or more head of bison, cattle, or one or more horses.

A conviction of this offense has a maximum sentencing up to 10 years in prison, and a possible fine of up to $10,000.

Second Degree Felony

An offense is considered a second degree felony if:

  • The amount of pecuniary loss is $100,000 or more, but less than $200,000

A conviction of this offense may result in a maximum prison sentence up to twenty years and a possible fine of $10,000.

First Degree Felony

An offense is considered a first degree felony if:

  • The amount of pecuniary loss is $200,000 or more;

A conviction of this offense may result in a maximum of life imprisonment and a possible fine up to $10,000.


Additional Resources:

Texas Penal Code: Chapter 28. - Visit the online Texas Penal Code and read the legal language surrounding criminal mischief and other related charges. Research the specifics that define the differing penalties for criminal mischief, and what the prosecution must prove to convict a person of criminal mischief.

Investigative Team, Dallas Police Department - Visit the Dallas Police Department's website to read about the North Central Investigative Team. Read further on their primary responsibilities, including criminal mischief, and who is a part of the investigative unit.


Locating a Criminal Mischief Lawyer in Dallas County, Texas

Are you overwhelmed with the possible penalties that accompany criminal mischief? Start with the first step, and contact an attorney at Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy today. Our attorneys are experienced in criminal defense and will battle fearlessly to preserve your rights.

If you or a loved one is facing criminal mischief charges in the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington metropolitan area, including Allen in Allen County, Fort Worth in Tarrant County, Denton in Denton County, Plano in Collin County, and Dallas in Dallas County, Texas, contact Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy for immediate legal counsel.

Our attorneys are experienced in criminal mischief cases after an arrest by the local law enforcement agencies including Dallas, Seagoville, Mesquite, Forney, Lancaster, Desoto, Ferris, Glen Heights, Red Oak, Arlington, Grand Prairie, Wilmer, Hutchins, and Dallas.

We also accept any clients during or after an investigation involving Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Department of Public Safety, and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI).

Criminal mischief charges are no joke and can land you with some grave penalties. Schedule a free consultation online today, or dial (972) 233-5700 today for legal representation.


This page was last updated on Tuesday, May 8, 2018.

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