Written by Alex Arshan
In Denver, Douglas and El Paso County, Criminal Mischief is charged when a person is accused of knowingly damaging another person’s property. Many criminal mischief charges are related to domestic violence, meaning that the parties had an intimate relationship. Domestic Violence is an enhancer, not an offense itself. This means that it causes the penalties to be higher than if the parties were not in a relationship.
Property Value Makes all the Difference
Criminal mischief has many serious consequences which depend on the value of the property that was damaged or destroyed. Here is the breakdown:
•· $500 or less = Misdemeanor 2
•· Between $500 – $1000 = Misdemeanor 1
•· Between $1000 – $20,000 = Felony 4
•· $20,000 or more = Felony 3
If the property was co-owned by the accused and the victim, it is of no consequence as it is still considered a crime against the victim. An issue that comes up often with criminal mischief charges in Arapahoe or Jefferson County is that the victim gets to determine the value item that had been broken or damaged. For example, we had a case in which our client’s husband got upset with her when she decided to come home late. So, the husband completely destroyed the necklace he had gotten her for their anniversary. The victim claimed the necklace was worth $3,000, so our client was charged with a Felony. However, the necklace had been previously damaged on accident by the wife. As a result, with our attorney’s involvement, the charges were lowered based on information provided by an expert.
In other cases when something is not completely destroyed, but is broken, the cost of repairing the item is what the police or District Attorney will use to classify the level of severity of the charge.
Further Consequences of a Domestic Violence Designation
Individuals who are charged with criminal mischief have many other severe consequences because the crime infers that the person may be a domestic abuser. Other consequence’s include not being able to own a firearm, employment opportunities, and may make it more difficult to rent suitable housing.
If you or anyone you know is charged with Criminal Mischief, contact an experienced attorney. We have been defending good people charged with criminal mischief for years in criminal cases throughout Colorado. We can help maintain a positive life for you and your loved ones. Call us today at 303-731-0719. Together, we can protect your future.