Anger is at the heart of many crimes. When some people are enraged, they can “act out” and get physical in their fury. When property gets in the way of someone who cannot control his or her emotions, and he or she breaks it or damages it, malicious mischief is the criminal offense. Classified as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the value of the property, malicious mischief falls into the “domestic violence” family of crimes which could carry additional penalties.
There are three classifications of this crime. Each is separated by the dollar value of the physical damage perpetrated on the property.
First Degree Malicious Mischief is when the damaged property is valued at more than $5,000. As a Class B felony, First Degree Malicious Mischief could cause someone to go to prison for up to 10 years plus pay a $20,000 fine.
Second Degree Malicious Mischief occurs when the damage sustained is more than $750 but less than $5,000. Punishable as a Class C Felony, Second Degree Malicious Mischief carries a maximum sentence of up to five years in jail and a $10,000 fine.
Malicious Mischief in the Third Degree is when the property damaged is worth less than $750, and a conviction of the same is punishable by up to 365 days in jail and a $5,000 fine.
What Does First Degree Malicious Mischief Look Like in Washington?
Two people argue over a parking space and the driver who gets the spot walks away, and goes about his or her business. The infuriated opponent is left yelling with blood is boiling. His anger gets the better of him and he takes his tire iron out of his trunk and smashes all the windows and headlights of the vehicle. The damage exceeds $5,000 and now, he is looking at being charged with a case of First Degree Malicious Mischief.
Second Degree Malicious Mischief Case Study in Washington
Two roommates argue over money all the time. One of them spends $1,000 on a new television. The other is angry because he is owed money by the roommate who bought the TV. During the argument, the angry roommate throws the remote control during the argument and it crashes right into the screen of the new TV, shattering it. His roommate files a police report charging the other with Second Degree Criminal Mischief.
An Example of Third Degree Malicious Mischief in Washington
Imagine a neighbor angry over a neighbor's new flagpole that is interfering with his or her view of some mountains nearby. Every day, the neighbor looks at the flagpole and grows more and more aggravated until one day, he walks over to the yard and knocks the flagpole down. The flagpole valued at $200 is destroyed. The neighbor reports the crime and it is classified as a Malicious Mischief in the Third Degree.
Getting angry and getting even can be more costly than what you may have imagined. If you or a loved one were involved in a domestic relationship and were accused of damaging property belonging to someone you are involved with or belonging to someone else, you need help fighting these charges. Depending on the value of the damage, you could be charged with a felony. Get the facts and call our office today for a consultation.