Vandalism throughout Jefferson County, Colorado involves damaging or defacing another’s property. Typically charged as criminal mischief or defacing property, vandalism can be a misdemeanor or a felony if the value exceeds $1,000. This property crime comes in many shapes and sizes, from juveniles pulling pranks on neighbors to purposeful destruction of an ex’s belongings. If you find yourself facing criminal mischief allegations, it’s important to exercise your right to remain silent and consult a vandalism lawyer right away. Below, our Jefferson County criminal defense attorneys discuss vandalism in more detail and how we can help those facing charges.
Are Vandalism, Criminal Mischief, and Defacing Property the Same Thing in Colorado?
Vandalism in Lakewood, Arvada, and Golden is an overarching term for crimes involving property damage. In many cases, the actual charge for vandalizing property or belongings is either Criminal Mischief (CRS 18-4-501) or Defacing Property (CRS 18-4-509). Police will pursue criminal mischief charges if they believe you:
- knowingly damaged,
- the real or personal property of one or more other persons,
- in the course of a single criminal episode
It is important to note this includes jointly owned items. Defacing property applies more specifically to graffiti and attempts to alter the surface of property with paint, ink, or other substances.
How Serious is Vandalism in Jefferson County?
The consequences for criminal mischief in Colorado depend on the value of the item or damage done. Misdemeanor criminal mischief applies when this figure is below $1,000. A conviction for adults (those 18 or older) can lead to:
- a county jail sentence of up to 18 months,
- fines of $50 – $5,000,
However, once the value figure reaches or exceeds $1K, a felony applies. This can mean time in prison and fines into the six-figure range. Juveniles (those 17 or under) adjudicated for criminal mischief often face different penalties. These can include a combination of probation, restitution, classes, and community service.
Defacing property doesn’t apply the same value figures to sentencing that criminal mischief does. This particular offense is a class 2 misdemeanor, with a maximum sentence of 12 months in county jail and fines up to $1,000. A second or subsequent defacing property crime elevates to a class 1 misdemeanor. In many defacing property cases, the defendant is required to repair the property (if possible) or compensate the property owner for damage.
Jefferson County Vandalism Lawyer
Allegations of criminal mischief or vandalism can be overwhelming. We’re here to help. Our highly-rated defense attorneys have decades of combined experience fighting charges related to vandalism and are prepared for your unique case. Perhaps the damage was accidental, the value isn’t accurate, or the owner consented to your acts. Nonetheless, contact our office today for a free, confidential consultation. One of our vandalism lawyers will carefully evaluate your case and suggest next steps in your defense. With affordable fees and flexible payment plans, Sawyer Legal Group should be your first call if facing accusations of vandalism in Colorado.
Talk to us about vandalism allegations – not the police. 303-731-0719
Photo by Lance Grandahl