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Criminal Mischief

Accused of Criminal Mischief in Ohio? Call LHA Today. Free Consults: (614) 500-3836.

There are a number of reasons criminal mischief charges may be brought against you.

To be charged, you must have done one of the following:

  • Without permission, knowingly moved, defaced, damaged, destroyed or tampered with someone else’s property
  • Used tear gas, a stink bomb, a smoke generator or similar device that’s harmful or offensive to people or tends to cause alarm, with the intent of preventing someone from using or enjoying their property
  • Without permission, knowingly moved, defaced, damaged, destroyed or tampered with a bench mark, triangulation station, boundary marker or other survey station, monument or marker
  • Did the same to a safety device, someone else’s property or your property when it’s required or used for the safety of others, in order make it more unsafe
  • Set fire to someone else’s land or set something that’s on fire on their land, with the intent of preventing someone from using or enjoying their property
  • Without permission, hack someone’s computer or network, introduce a virus or otherwise change their system with the intent to impair its functioning

Every day in central Ohio people are charged with criminal mischief.  Depending on the nature of the allegations, penalties can range from a third degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 60 days in jail to a fourth degree felony punishable by up to 18 months in prison.

If you are convicted of criminal mischief, additional potential issues include:

  • Maintaining your current employment
  • Licensure issues in some professions
  • Difficulty getting a good job in the future
  • Difficulty and possible denial in immigration and naturalization proceedings

Simply put, if you are convicted of criminal mischief, it will potentially be on your criminal background for the rest of your life. No matter what the circumstances were in your case, you run the risk of being considered someone who cannot respect the property of others. Therefore, it is critical that you to give your criminal mischief charge the level of importance it deserves.

The Columbus Criminal Defense team takes an aggressive and comprehensive approach when representing clients charged with criminal mischief. First and foremost, we will figure out what mistakes the police made, whether your arrest was lawful, whether there were issues with the collection, storage and testing of evidence and what other legal issues can be raised on your behalf.

We do this by requesting discovery from the prosecutor. The discovery will generally consist of police reports, additional investigative notes, lab reports and potentially video or audio. As our client, you will receive a copy of everything received from the prosecutor for your review

Based on the legal weaknesses in the State of Ohio’s case and any other mitigating factors, we will negotiate the best possible plea available with the prosecutor for you to consider in resolving your case.

If your case cannot be resolved satisfactorily with a plea, it would then proceed to a motion hearing (a hearing where the judge issues a ruling on an evidentiary issue) or a trial to the judge or jury, depending on the circumstances.

For nearly ten years, the Columbus Criminal Defense team has successfully represented clients charged with criminal mischief. That extensive previous experience will enable us to better help you.

Are you in trouble? Contact us.

If you’ve been charged with criminal mischief, it’s important to know what you’re up against. If you have any questions left unanswered by this page, or if you need a competent, experienced criminal attorney to fight for you in court, please contact us at (614) 500-3836 or via email at [email protected].

Penalties

General Penalties
This is a misdemeanor of the third degree and carries the following penalties:

  • A jail sentence of up to 60 days
    • In its place, your judge may sentence you to probation or other community control punishments
  • At most, a fine of $500
With a threat of physical harm to someone else
This is a misdemeanor of the first degree and carries the following penalties:

  • A jail sentence of up to 180 days
    • In its place, your judge may sentence you to probation or other community control punishments
  • At most, a fine of $1,000
Involving an aircraft or aircraft part
This is a felony of the fifth degree and carries the following penalties:

  • A prison term of six months to one year
    • In its place, your judge may sentence you to probation or other community control punishments
  • At most, a fine of $2,500
With a risk of serious physical harm
This is a felony of the fourth degree and carries the following penalties:

  • A prison term of six to 18 months
    • In its place, your judge may sentence you to probation or other community control punishments
  • At most, a fine of $5,000

Criminal mischief, computer or network penalties

Value of the equipment: Less than $1,000
This is a misdemeanor of the first degree and carries the following penalties:

  • A jail sentence of up to 180 days
    • In its place, your judge may sentence you to probation or other community control punishments
  • At most, a fine of $1,000
Value of the equipment: $1,000 to $9,999 or used for an unoccupied aircraft and creates a risk of physical harm to others
This is a felony of the fifth degree and carries the following penalties:

  • A prison term of six months to one year
    • In its place, your judge may sentence you to probation or other community control punishments
  • At most, a fine of $2,500
Value of the equipment: $10,000 or more or used for aircraft and creates a serious risk of physical harm to others, or the aircraft is occupied
This is a felony of the fourth degree and carries the following penalties:

  • A prison term of six to 18 months
    • In its place, your judge may sentence you to probation or other community control punishments
  • At most, a fine of $5,000

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if I'm charged with a hate crime?
While Ohio law only refers to hate crimes per se in its ethnic intimidation offense, the same basic rule applies, whether it’s based on prejudice against race, religion, gender, sexuality or social group: the classification for your crime or misdemeanor will move up one degree. For example, if you were to receive a third degree misdemeanor for criminal mischief, it would become a misdemeanor of the second degree instead, with the accompanying penalties.

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