Broadly defined, Criminal Mischief (N.J.S.A. 2C:17-3) in New Jersey is the crime of purposely or knowingly damaging another person’s property, recklessly damaging another person’s property through the use of fire or explosives, or tampering with another person’s property in a way that endangers people or property.
The statute also specifies that a tenant who damages or destroys a rental property in retaliation for eviction proceedings is committing Criminal Mischief.
The crime can be graded several ways, so it is possible to be charged with Criminal Mischief in the Third Degree, which carries a longer possible prison sentence and higher fines, or even in the second degree.
If you’ve been charged with Criminal Mischief in the Fourth Degree, you may benefit from a presumption of non-incarceration if you have a relatively clean record.
Conviction would carry penalties that include up to 18 months in prison, fines of $10,000, and of course restitution for the costs of whatever property was damaged.
An experienced New Jersey defense attorney can make a big difference in your case, from negotiating a better outcome, to having charges reduced or dropped, or presenting a strong, comprehensive defense case during trial.
You won’t know your options if you don’t get the right kind of help.
Matt Reisig has been defending people in New Jersey facing serious criminal charges for nearly 20 years.
Call 732-625-9661 today for a free consultation.