Criminal Mischief

Criminal Mischief

Criminal Mischief, in Texas, is a criminal offense involving property damage, and the severity depends on the property that was damaged and value (or cost of loss, repairs, or damage).

Sometimes, there are lesser offenses that might be charged rather than Criminal Mischief:

  • Section 28.04, Reckless Damage or Destruction is when a person recklessly damages or destroys property of the owner (without the owner's consent).
  • Section 28.08, Graffiti, or Vandalism occurs when a person intentionally or knowingly makes markings, including inscriptions, slogans, drawings, or paintings, on another's property by using paint; an indelible marker; or an etching or engraving device.

You can read the specific Statute and also read about the Penalties and Punishments below.


What You Need To Know

If at the Misdemeanor level, an individual arrested for Criminal Mischief can expect to pay back the cost of the damage -- if the prosecutors have enough evidence against that person. Furthermore, there is the possibility of probation, deferred adjudication, jail time, and even prison, especially if the prosecutors determine that the Criminal Mischief involved an expensive or difficult to replace item.



Closely Related Offenses

Related areas to Criminal Mischief include Criminal Trespass, or Failure to Identify which is when a person refuses or fails to identify themselves to law enforcement. Also, very closely related is Vandalism which also includes property damage.

If you're looking for other offenses that are related to this one, you can see more information below, or click related legal offenses.


Jail Release and Bond for Criminal Mischief

A person charged with Criminal Mischief is arrested and taken to jail. In jail, the person is forced to await the Judge and the ever growing list of documents that must be prepared. Usually, getting out of jail quickly is the main priority.

Keates Law Firm can act quickly to assist with a personal bond to release that person. Be sure to read more about Bond, Personal Bonds, and Travis County Jail Releases.

Sometimes an officer will file arrest warrant , which will require a Walkthrough to clear the Arrest Warrant. Doing a Walkthrough quickly is important, because most of the time a person does not go into the jail during the surrender process. Call us for more details if you have an Active Travis County Arrest Warrant.


Defenses for Criminal Mischief

Defense for Criminal Mischief often fall into two categories: did the police arrest the right person, and if so, is the damage an accurate amount. Because the damage amount can fall under several categories of offenses (ticket, misdemeanor, or felony), the actual value of loss is often contested.

If you'd like to talk in detail about your situation, or if you have questions, contact us for a Free Case Consultation. Keep in mind, Keates Law Firm only practices in Austin and Travis County.


Work with an Experienced Criminal Mischief Attorney

Hiring the right attorney from the beginning is important. Poor legal decisions will have a negative effect upon the case as it progresses. The Keates Law Firm has over 16+ Years Experience handling Criminal Mischief cases. Our focus is to try and have the case dismissed against you. We don't even discuss pleas until all legal and negotiation options have been explored in detail.


Call Us to talk about your particular case and situation. It's a 100% Free Phone Consultation with Criminal Defense Attorney Keates. No Sales Pitches, No Hassles. We'll see if we are the right Law Firm for you, and give you a quote. Be sure to check out Keates Law Firm's Reviews and also our past cases and Results.


How We Can Help

Your goal should be Dismissal for any Criminal Mischief charge. While not every case can be dismissed, often times the goal becomes avoiding jail, or getting a reduced charge, or even getting a favorable probation with a possible dismissal at the end, called Deferred Adjudication. If dismissed, a person can later seek an Expunction of a Criminal Record, which is where a Judge Orders the offense records destroyed, including police reports, court records, and prosecutor files.

Likewise, if Deferred Adjudication is successfully completed, the person can have thier record sealed through Motions for NonDisclosure.


Benefits of Working with Keates Law Firm:

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Sec. 28.03. CRIMINAL MISCHIEF.

(a) A person commits an offense if, without the effective consent of the owner: (1) he intentionally or knowingly damages or destroys the tangible property of the owner; (2) he intentionally or knowingly tampers with the tangible property of the owner and causes pecuniary loss or substantial inconvenience to the owner or a third person; or (3) he intentionally or knowingly makes markings, including inscriptions, slogans, drawings, or paintings, on the tangible property of the owner.


What are the Criminal Mischief Punishments?

Criminal Mischief penalties can be a misdemeanor or a felony, depend upon the extent of damage or destruction of property. Breaking a chair is obviously less serious than vandalizing a car. A lot of the penalty and punishment for Criminal Mischief will depend on the cost of the item damaged. A court will typically also order any restitution for the damage caused.


Penalties for Criminal Mischief
Level of Offense Punishment
Class C Misdemeanor Not Jailable, No more than $500 fines
Class B Misdemeanor Not more than 180 days in a county jail, and/or no more than $2,000 fines
Class A Misdemeanor Not more than 1 year in a county jail, and/or no more than $4,000 fines
State jail felony 180 days to 2 years in a state jail, and/or no more than $10,000 fines
3rd Degree Felony 2-10 Years in Prison, and/or no more than $10,000 fines

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