Causing physical harm to property in the form of Vandalism, Criminal Damaging, or Criminal Mischief may have less severe penalties than causing physical harm to people, but if you’ve been charged with Vandalism, Criminal Damaging or Criminal Mischief in Ohio, you need an experienced defense attorney. Depending on the severity of the crime, if convicted, the punishment for Vandalism, Criminal Damaging or Criminal Mischief may include jail time, probation, community service, restitution and a fine.
Whether you feel you have been improperly charged or need a rigorous defense, the State of Ohio always has the burden to prove your guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt.” A good defense attorney can ensure that your constitutional rights are protected and that you are effectively represented.
Ohio Vandalism Charges, Ohio Revised Code Section 2909.05
Vandalism is defined in Ohio as to “knowingly cause serious physical harm to an occupied structure or any of its contents.” Vandalism is a 5th degree felony and if convicted the penalties range from up to five years of probation, 6 to 12 months in prison and a fine not to exceed $2,500. If convicted of Vandalism and the property damage is more than $75,000 – $150,000, Vandalism is a 4th degree felony and the penalties range from up to five years of probation, 6 to 18 months in prison and a fine not to exceed $5,000. Vandalism that results in more than $150,000 in damages is a felony of the 3rd degree and the penalties range from up to five years of probation, up to 36 months in prison and a fine not to exceed $10,000.
Criminal Damaging Charges, Ohio Revised Code 2909.06
Under Ohio’s Criminal Damaging statute “No person shall cause, or create a substantial risk of physical harm to any property of another without the other person’s consent either 1.) Knowingly, by any means; or, 2.) Recklessly, by means of fire, explosion, flood, poison gas, poison, radioactive material, caustic or corrosive material, or other inherently dangerous agency or substance.
Generally criminal damaging charges in Ohio are a 2nd degree misdemeanor. If convicted, you can face up to 90 days in jail and a fine not to exceed $750. If, in the act of criminal damaging, a person is put at risk of physical harm, then the penalties for criminal damaging are enhanced to a 1st degree misdemeanor carrying up to six months in jail and a fine not to exceed $1,000. Criminal Damaging can also be a 5th degree felony or a 4th degree felony if the damaged property involves an aircraft and creates a risk or substantial risk of physical harm to a person.
Criminal Mischief Charges, Ohio Revised Code 2909.07
Under Ohio’s Criminal Mischief statute “no person shall, without privilege to do so, knowingly move, deface, damage, destroy, or otherwise improperly tamper with the property of another;
You can also be charged with criminal mischief if you damage your own property and that property is subject to a mortgage or is in foreclosure. Other acts of criminal mischief include:
- Employing a tear gas device, stink bomb, smoke generator, or other device releasing a substance that is harmful or offensive to persons exposed or that tends to cause public alarm
- Knowingly move, deface, damage, destroy, or otherwise improperly tamper with a bench mark, triangulation station, boundary marker, or other survey station, monument, or marker
- Without privilege to do so, knowingly move, deface, damage, destroy, or otherwise improperly tamper with any safety device, the property of another, or the property of the offender when required or placed for the safety of others, so as to destroy or diminish its effectiveness or availability for its intended purpose
- Set a fire on the land of another or place personal property that has been set on fire on the land of another, which fire or personal property is outside and apart from any building, other structure, or personal property that is on that land
- Hacking, damaging, destroying, or modifying a computer, computer system, or computer network with the intent to impair the functioning of any computer, computer system, computer network, computer software, or computer program
- Damaging or deploying any “safety device” means any fire extinguisher, fire hose, or fire axe, or any fire escape, emergency exit, or emergency escape equipment, or any life line, life-saving ring, life preserver, or life boat or raft, or any alarm, light, flare, signal, sign, or notice intended to warn of danger or emergency, or intended for other safety purposes, or any guard railing or safety barricade, or any traffic sign or signal, or any railroad grade crossing sign, signal, or gate, or any first aid or survival equipment, or any other device, apparatus, or equipment intended for protecting or preserving the safety of persons or property.
Generally, if you are convicted of criminal mischief in Ohio it is a 3rd degree misdemeanor and you can face up to 60 days in jail and a fine not to exceed $500. If, in the act of criminal mischief, a person is put at risk or substantial risk of physical harm, then the penalties for criminal mischief are enhanced to either a 1st degree misdemeanor, a 5th degree felony or a 4th degree felony.
Vandalism, Criminal Damaging, and Criminal Mischief are crimes that often occur in the heat of the moment, as a result of road rage or another aggravation. As such, you may find yourself regretting the behavior and seeking to quickly put these charges behind you. An experienced defense attorney will help determine whether you have a defense(s) to the charge(s) and thoroughly discuss your options. Should you decide to go to trial, a criminal defense attorney is an absolute necessity. For more information and a free consultation, please contact Jeff Hastings, experienced Cleveland Criminal Defense Attorney.