Criminal Mischief Attorney in Union County, New Jersey
Criminal mischief charges can often be the result of vandalism such as spray painting or a broken vase during a domestic dispute. A charge of criminal mischief is serious and the degree of crime will vary depending on the amount of property damaged. Under the law it does not matter if the property is public, private, or even if it appears to be abandoned which is often the case. A conviction for criminal mischief will carry penalties such as community service, probation, thousands in restitution and even prison time. It is important that you hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer to defend your interests. The Proetta & Oliver represents clients charged with criminal mischief throughout New Jersey including Roselle Park, Linden, Elizabeth, Summit, Scotch Plains, and Westfield. Our law firm is typically able to get criminal mischief charges downgraded to a municipal ordinance, or dismissed altogether. Contact our office today to have a free initial consultation with an experienced criminal mischief defense attorney at (908) 838-0150.
NJ Statute 2C: 17-3 Criminal Mischief Law
The New Jersey law gives criminal mischief a very broad meaning and encompasses a wide range of different actions and property. In general, the degree of crime is determined by the type of property and the amount of monetary loss. The New Jersey criminal mischief statute, in pertinent part, reads as follows:
a. Offense defined. A person is guilty of criminal mischief if he:
(1) Purposely or knowingly damages tangible property of another or damages tangible property of another recklessly or negligently in the employment of fire, explosives or other dangerous means listed in subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:17-2; or
(2) Purposely, knowingly or recklessly tampers with tangible property of another so as to endanger person or property, including the damaging or destroying of a rental premises by a tenant in retaliation for institution of eviction proceedings.
b. Grading.(1) Criminal mischief is a crime of the third degree if the actor purposely or knowingly causes pecuniary loss of $2,000.00 or more.
(2) Criminal mischief is a crime of the fourth degree if the actor causes pecuniary loss in excess of $500.00 but less than $2000.00. It is a disorderly persons offense if the actor causes pecuniary loss of $500.00 or less.
To help understand the statute we have provided you with a chart for degree of crimes as they pertain to criminal mischief charges in New Jersey listed below.
Disorderly Persons Offense
if damage to the property is under $500 or if the damage is considered nominal and cannot be determined
if the damage exceeds $500 but is less than $2,000 or if public gas, oil, water lines, or telephone wires are tampered with
if the damage to the property is $2,000 or more
if public services were tampered with and the damage or interruption of the services caused a death
Criminal Mischief Lawyer in Linden, New Jersey
A criminal mischief should not be taken lightly because even as a disorderly persons offense, it will still result in a permanent criminal record and potential exposure to jail, probation, and restitution. Because of the nature of the charge, it is common for our firm to represent clients for ancillary charges in connection with criminal mischief such as Burglary and Defiant Trespass. As founding attorney, William A. Proetta, Esq. has personally handled well over 1,000 criminal and municipal court cases during his career, including numerous criminal mischief charges. We represent clients throughout Union County including Rahway, Hillside, Kenilworth, Springfield, New Providence and we are nearly always able to work out a negotiated plea that does not result in a criminal conviction for our client. If you are interested in our firm helping you with your case, an experienced criminal mischief defense lawyer is happy to speak with you during a free consultation so give us a call at (908) 838-0150.
Our phones are answered 24 hours a day. We are available weekdays during business hours. We also meet with clients on evenings and weekends by request. We have four office locations conveniently located in Mount Laurel, Point Pleasant, Princeton and Middletown. All major credit cards are accepted