In Jefferson, Boulder and Broomfield County and across Colorado, Criminal Mischief, C.R.S. 18-4-501, applies to allegations that a defendant has damaged another person’s property. While criminal mischief could apply to any situation where a person’s property is knowingly damaged, these charges are often filed in the context of domestic violence cases. In cases where criminal mischief is alleged to be part of an act of domestic violence, the consequences can be very severe including undergoing a battery of domestic violence classes which can be both costly and time consuming. Read more on Examples of criminal mischief.
Criminal Mischief Felony and Misdemeanor Classes
Similar to the crime of theft, criminal mischief is classified based on the amount of damage. Criminal mischief is a class 3 misdemeanor when the aggregate damage is less than $300.00. For damage between $300.00 and less than $750.00, the charge constitutes a class 2 misdemeanor. For damage of $750 – to less than $1000, criminal mischief is a class 1 misdemeanor. Criminal mischief can also constitute a felony offense when the damage amounts are higher:
•· $1000 or more but less than $5000 = Felony 6
•· $5000 or more but less than $20,000 = Felony 5
•· $20,000 or more but less than $100,000 = Felony 4
•· $100,000 or more but less than $1 million = Felony 3
•· Damage of $1 million or more = Felony 2
It is not a defense to the charge that the accused also had an interest in the property, meaning that if the property was co-owned by the accused and the victim. In criminal mischief cases, valuation is critical. Typically prosecutors rely on the victim to assess the value. This is problematic because often people over assess the value of their property. Where the damaged does not destroy the property, the charges are based on the cost of repair.
A Real Life Example We Recently Faced
Recently, our client was charged with criminal mischief for destroying a gift that he had given his wife in happier times. The client was upset about infidelity in the relationship and threw bleach on her mink coat that he had purchased for her right after they were married. The victim claimed the coat was worth $25,000.00, so the defendant was charged with a felony 4. However, the coat was in terrible condition and was nearly 17 years old when it was damaged. As a result, the charges were lowered based on the information we obtained from an expert.
If you or a loved one is charged with criminal mischief, consult one of the best attorneys. We have spent years defending the accused against criminal mischief cases across Colorado, and we can help you. So, be smart, exercise your right to remain silent, and call us today at 303-731-0719. Together, we can protect your future.