Criminal mischief in the second degree is a serious crime defined along the terms of vandalism. In New York, it’s defined as a Class D felony, which could result in a significant prison sentence for anyone who is found guilty. Up to seven years spent in a state prison per offense and fines that meet or exceed the amount of damage done during the crime is what guilty parties face when they engage in criminal mischief. The New York penal code describing criminal mischief in the second degree describes it as a person’s intent to cause damage to the property of another person, but only if the damage exceeds $1,500.
When a home or business owners accuses a person of criminal mischief in the second degree, it can mean a long trial, a court case, and a prison sentence in addition to restitution if the defendant is found guilty. It’s not a small crime to commit when the damage exceeds such a significant amount, which is why many people are unwilling to ignore the damage without also pressing charges against the person who commits the crime in New York. It’s why defendants must have a NYC criminal lawyer to help them with their case.
Examples of Criminal Mischief in the Second Degree
Accidents happen all the time, and they are often easy to prove. A person who swerves their bike on a path to avoid hitting a child who runs out in front of them and ends up going through the window of a store instead probably had no intention of going through the window. The damage caused was entirely accident, and there was no malicious intent. If the person who goes through the window of a store does so specifically to break the window and cause harm to those who are inside the store as a point of revenge against those who upset him inside is doing so with intent.
This means the person inside the store is going to press charges and possibly ask that a court of law charge the at-fault party with criminal mischief in the second degree. This kind of accusation is easy to prove, and most people who are accused of this crime had the malicious intent to cause harm. As with any other criminal behavior, though, there is always a chance the defendant is innocent and it must be proven this is true when a trial occurs.
If a person accused of criminal mischief in the second degree has a defense, a good attorney can help bring it to light. One of the most common defenses against this crime is the lack of intent. If the damage can be proven accidental rather than malicious, the case can be dropped and charges will not be brought onto the defendant. However, if there was intent, such as a fight, a viable threat, or even a social media post by the person who caused the damage that they might do something to get someone back, malicious intent is evident.
The second most common defense is the amount of damage caused. If it does not exceed $1,500, the person who cause the damage is no longer going to be held liable for the issue. There is a lack of criminal activity in this case, which means no one will be charged with criminal mischief in any form. An experienced attorney can help anyone accused of criminal mischief in the second degree form their defense to either minimize or eliminate the risk of legal punishment. The best defense in a case like this is a good counsel.
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