Criminal Mischief – Definition
The law on Criminal Mischief in New Jersey is located at NJSA 2C:17-3 and states as follows:
Criminal Mischief. a. Offense defined. A person is guilty of criminal mischief if he:
(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 eviction proceedings.
(3) Criminal Mischief is a crime of the third degree if the actor purposely or knowingly causes pecuniary loss of $2000.00 or more.
(4)Criminal Mischief is the 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.
Criminal Mischief Offenses in New Jersey
Criminal mischief generally refers to illegal activities related to property. The most common examples of criminal mischief are:
- Property damage
Your criminal charges depend on the value of the property that was damaged or vandalized.
What if I Don’t Have a Defense? – Do Not Worry the State Has the Burden of Proof
You may have been charged with Criminal Mischief in Wall, Belmar, Lake Como, Manasquan, Bradley Beach, Spring Lake Heights, Asbury Park, or some other New Jersey Shore town and are now extremely worried because you may be guilty of Criminal Mischief. You may ask “does that mean I have to just plead guilty?” The answer is “no”. As a defendant in a criminal case, you do not have the burden to prove the case. In other words, you are presumed innocent and it is the State – the prosecutor – who has to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The prosecutor has to subpoena witnesses for testimony and present evidence before the judge to prove each and every element of the offense against you beyond a reasonable doubt. If he presents insufficient evidence or if the Judge has a “reasonable doubt” as to your guilt then he must find you “not guilty.”
How Do You Resolve Criminal Mischief Charges?
At Clark & Noonan, LLC, our attorneys for criminal defense understand what is at stake in your situation. We are passionate about providing each of our clients with an aggressive, competent defense strategy. Instead of letting you be defined by the criminal system, which can often be the default, our attorneys work proactively to tell your side of the story. Even as someone who ended up with criminal charges against them, you have a story of how you came to find yourself in this situation. You do not deserve the harshest penalties, and we will fight for dismissal of charges whenever possible. We are also fully prepared to bring your case to trial if necessary to obtain the results you want.
Each case is unique, and we cannot properly inform you of next steps until you visit us for a free consultation. If you are wondering what to do next to protect yourself and your future, call our law firm. We have the information and knowledge you need to feel more confident about meeting these charges head-on.
For a free consultation and to learn more about our experienced criminal defense lawyers serving Newark, Jersey City and the surrounding areas in New Jersey, please call Clark & Noonan, LLC at 732-303-7857.