May 16, 2023 | Kentucky Law
Criminal mischief can be a serious crime in Kentucky, but not many people have heard about it. If you’ve been charged with criminal mischief, you may be wondering what happens next.
A Lexington criminal defense lawyer can explain the consequences of criminal mischief and the legal process in your case. They can also represent you in court and defend you against criminal charges. However, before speaking with a lawyer, it is helpful to get a basic understanding of the charge, defenses, and potential penalties.
What Is Criminal Mischief in Lexington, KY?
Criminal mischief is a type of property crime. A person is guilty of criminal mischief when they intentionally or wantonly deface, destroy, or damage another’s property. It can also include the destruction of residential property by a tenant.
If the value of the property is $1,000 or more, then it is charged as a Class D felony. If it caused less than $1,000 in damage, then it is charged as a misdemeanor.
Are There Any Defenses to Criminal Mischief?
Luckily, there are several defenses to criminal mischief. The most obvious defense to criminal mischief charges is that you did not destroy, deface, or damage the property. If you have an alibi or can prove that another person is responsible, you will have a solid defense to the charge.
There are other defenses to criminal mischief as well, including:
- You owned the property
- You had consent to damage, deface, or destroy the property
- The damage was accidental
- The property has no value, and so there is no financial loss
- Errors in the charging procedure or collection of evidence
A defense attorney will help you build a defense in your case. This will include collecting evidence and presenting it at trial. It’s best to be entirely honest with your lawyer so that they can put your best defense forward.
What Is the Punishment for a Criminal Mischief Conviction?
The punishment for a criminal mischief conviction can vary depending on the severity of the charge and the facts of the case. It may include jail time and even a significant fine or restitution. The goal is to always avoid a conviction. However, if you are convicted, then the goal becomes to mitigate your sentence.
Class D Felony
If you are convicted of criminal mischief charged as a Class D felony, then you will face 1-5 years in prison. When released, you may be placed on probation for some time.
Additionally, you will likely be ordered to repay restitution for the value of the property. This can be paid in full, or over time. If you get behind on your payments, your wages may be garnished and it will affect your credit.
Furthermore, a felony conviction can also have other collateral consequences on your life. This includes removing your right to vote, own a firearm, secure housing, or even certain loans. It’s best to avoid a felony conviction if at all possible.
Class A Misdemeanor
If you are convicted of criminal mischief as a Class A misdemeanor, then you will face up to 1 year in jail and a $500 fine. This fine will be in addition to ordered restitution to the property owner. A misdemeanor charge will still impact your criminal record but is usually less significant than a felony conviction.
Class B Misdemeanor
If you are convicted of criminal mischief as a Class B misdemeanor, you will face up to 90 days in jail and a $250 fine. Again, this is likely in addition to court-ordered restitution.
Consider Hiring a Qualified Lexington Criminal Defense Attorney
If you want to limit your punishment, you should hire a lawyer who can defend you against your criminal mischief charges in Lexington. This is your best bet for staying out of trouble. However, if there isn’t a solid defense, a lawyer may be able to negotiate a favorable plea deal, such as a reduction in charges or no-jail time.
For more information, contact the criminal defense attorneys at Suhre & Associates, LLC give us a call today at (859) 569-4014 or visit us at our Lexington law office.
Suhre & Associates, LLC – Lexington
333 West Vine Street #212
Lexington, KY 40507