According to the New York Penal Code, criminal mischief is a crime that involves intentionally damaging property owned by someone else, without the owner’s permission. This crime commonly is referred to as vandalism.
Elements of Criminal Mischief in the First Degree
There are four different criminal mischief offenses on the books in New York, the most serious being criminal mischief in the first degree. Criminal mischief in the first degree is classified as a class B felony. A person can be charged with criminal mischief in the first degree if he or she damages the property of another person using an explosive. A charge of criminal mischief in the first degree is possible if the person that perpetrated the explosion is a co-owner of the property.
Keep in mind that, depending on the overall impact of an explosion, a person who caused the explosion in the first instance may be charged with other crimes in addition to criminal mischief in the first degree.
Examples of Criminal Mischief in the First Degree
An example of criminal mischief in the first degree could arise from a situation in which a person blows up an automobile owned by someone else. Similarly, a charge of criminal mischief in the first degree could be made if a person causes an explosion in a store or other type of commercial structure.
Sentence for Criminal Mischief in the First Degree
The state of New York takes the crime of criminal mischief in the first degree very seriously. The serious nature of the crime resulted in its classification as a class B felony.
A person convicted of criminal mischief in the first degree can face a prison term of up to 25 years. In addition, a court could order a significant fine. A person convicted of this crime is likely to face a restitution order as well.
If a person has a more extensive criminal history, the sentence in a criminal mischief in the first degree case is likely to be longer. On the other hand, a person with a more moderate criminal history is likely to avoid an extended term of incarceration in a criminal mischief in the first degree case.
Defenses to Criminal Mischief in the First Degree
There exist a number of defenses to criminal mischief in the first degree. The law requires that the explosion and resulting property damage be intentional.
A possible defense to criminal mischief in the first degree is that the damage caused to someone else’s property as a result of an explosion was unintentional. Although this might permit a person to avoid conviction for criminal mischief in the first degree, he or she may face being charged with, and convicted for, another crime.
Another defense to a charge of criminal mischief in the first degree is the contention that the owner of the property gave permission for the activity that resulted in the explosion and damage.
Experienced NYC criminal attorneys can provide solid representation in cases involving criminal mischief if the first degree. A person facing this type of charge is wise retaining legal representation sooner, rather than later.
The first step in hiring a lawyer in a criminal mischief in the first degree case is scheduling what is known as an initial consultation. At an initial consultation, an attorney provides a prospective client and overview of the case. The attorney will also provide answers to any questions a person may have about a charge of criminal mischief in the first degree. There usually is no attorney fee charged for an initial consultation with attorney to discuss a specific case.
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