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Criminal Mischief Charges in Texas

Did you recently damage someone else’s property and now you’re being slapped with criminal mischief charges? Or, are you a parent whose son or daughter vandalized someone else’s property and now he or she is facing criminal charges for what they did?

If your answer is “yes” to either question, you’ll be interested in learning more about criminal mischief under Section 28.03 of the Texas Penal Code. Under Sec. 28.03, you commit the offense of “criminal mischief” when you do the following without the owner’s express consent:

  • Intentionally or knowingly damage or destroy their property,
  • Intentionally or knowingly tamper with their property to the extent where you cause monetary loss or a substantial inconvenience for the owner, or
  • Intentionally and knowingly make drawings, paintings, markings, inscriptions, or carvings on the owner’s property.

Criminal mischief can be charged as a state jail felony, a Class A, B, or C misdemeanor depending on the amount of financial loss. In other words, the costlier the damage to the person’s property, the more serious the penalties. Criminal mischief is a:

  • A state jail felony if the financial loss is $2,500 or more but under $30,000.
  • A Class A misdemeanor if the financial loss is $750 or more but under $2,500.
  • A Class B misdemeanor if the financial loss is $100 or more but under $750.
  • A Class C misdemeanor if the financial loss is under $100.

While the penalties for criminal mischief vary widely, we’re going to discuss the penalties for a Class B misdemeanor since many of these offenses involve less than $750 of damage. Suppose “Joe” destroyed his neighbor’s $300 bicycle because he was upset at him.

As a Class B misdemeanor, Joe would face up to a $2,000, or up to six months in jail, or both for destroying his neighbor’s bike. As you can see, the penalties for criminal mischief can be severe, even if you didn't intend to do so much damage at the time.

Facing criminal charges in Plano or Dallas? Contact The Zendeh Del Law Firm, PLLC to work with a top-rated defense team!