Criminal Mischief Lawyer in Middletown
Criminal mischief in essence typically boils down to the intentional destruction of another’s personal property. Most criminal mischief charges in Monmouth County involve one of three things, or a combination of both; alcohol, a domestic dispute or a prank gone wrong. Now although the offense of criminal mischief is not one of the most serious charges under the New Jersey criminal code, if convicted, it could still subject a Defendant to not only incarceration but a felony criminal record as well. If you or a loved one has been charged with criminal mischief in Monmouth County, in towns like Hazlet, Long Branch, Middletown, Belmar, Asbury Park, Manasquan, Red Bank, West Long Branch, Holmdel and Tinton Falls the Law Offices of Proetta & Oliver can help. Our attorneys have been representing clients charged with not only criminal mischief, but simple assault, harassment, terroristic threats, burglary and trespassing in Monmouth County for years now. Our Monmouth County criminal defense attorneys dedicate their entire practice to defending those accused of crimes in New Jersey.
If you would like to come into our office to have a face to face consultation with one of the criminal defense attorneys on staff, then please contact us directly at (732)858-6959. We can go over the specifics of your case and we will give you our honest feedback on how we think we can be of assistance. Our attorneys are available 24/7 to help assist in anyway possible. We fully understand that being charged with a criminal offense can be extremely stressful. Also, as always, our initial consultations are free of costs, so if you have any questions whatsoever, please do not hesitate to contact us. Now here is some key information on criminal mischief, including what the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt in order to obtain a conviction.
How Serious is a Criminal Mischief Case in NJ?
The offense of criminal mischief in New Jersey can be either a second, third or fourth degree indictable and it can also be a disorderly persons offense (misdemeanor) as well. The value of the item in question and what the item actually was will dictate what degree of criminal mischief a Defendant is charged with. The degree of the offense charged will also dictate what Court has original jurisdiction over the case. All indictable offense cases must be transferred from the local municipal court to the Monmouth County Superior Court for disposition. Conversely, all disorderly persons offense criminal mischief cases will be litigated in the local municipal court in the municipality where the incident happened. For more information on the differences between Superior Court and Municipal Court in Monmouth County, please click the link.
Elements for a Criminal Mischief Charge in NJ: N.J.S.A. 2C:17-3
The offense of criminal mischief in New Jersey can be either a second, third or fourth degree felony and it can also be a disorderly persons offense (misdemeanor) as well. The value of the item in question and what the item actually was will dictate what degree of criminal mischief a Defendant is charged with. The governing statute in New Jersey for criminal mischief is N.J.S.A. 2C:17-3, which dictates that in order to be convicted of criminal mischief, the State must prove that the Defendant:
- Purposely or knowingly damaged tangible property of another or damaged tangible property of another recklessly or negligently in the employment of fire, explosives or other dangerous means; or
- Purposely, knowingly or recklessly tampers with tangible property of another so as to endanger person or property.
What you Need to Know about a Criminal Mischief Case in Monmouth County?
“Damage” has been defined as causing a loss, injury or deterioration that reduces the value or usefulness of something. “Tangible property” has been defined as any real or personal property that is visible and corporeal, i.e., something that can be seen and touched. As you can tell almost anything can be considered “tangible property”. Therefore, the key to defending this statute is going to be attacking the underlying intent of the Defendant. I.e., purposely, knowingly, recklessly or negligently. This is where an experienced criminal defense attorney can make a significant difference. Now here is a breakdown in the different degrees and applicable penalties if convicted of criminal mischief.
What is the Jail Time For a Criminal Mischief Case in NJ?
3rd Degree Felony: 3-5 Years in a State Prison & a Fine up to $15,000
- The value of the “loss” suffered by the victim was more than $2,000; or
- If the “victim” is a research facility; or
- If the “victim” is a grave stone; or
- If the “victim” is public transportation.
4th Degree Felony: Up to 18 Months in a State Prison & a Fine up to $10,000
- The value of the “loss” suffered by the victim was more than $500 but less than $2,000.
- The “victim” air traffic controls at an airport.
Disorderly Persons Offense: Up to 6 Months in Jail & a Fine up to $1,000
- The value of the “loss” suffered by the victim was less than $500.
How to Avoid Jail on a Criminal Mischief Charge in NJ?
Depending on the facts surrounding the incident, a Defendant charged with criminal mischief may be eligible for one of New Jersey’s diversionary programs. They include the Pretrial Intervention Program, Conditional Dismissal Program and Drug Court. For more information on these programs, including eligibility, please either click the links or contact us directly at (732)858-6959.
Atlantic Highlands NJ Criminal Mischief Lawyer
As you can tell from above, what started out as a stupid prank or argument that went too far can have severe life changing consequences. Therefore, it is imperative that you speak to an experienced Monmouth County criminal defense attorney about your options. If you have been charged with a criminal offense like criminal mischief, shoplifting, theft by deception, criminal trespassing or any other offense for that matter in Monmouth County, the attorneys at Proetta & Oliver can help. We serve all of Monmouth County, including towns like Tinton Falls, Aberdeen, Matawan, Lake Como, Hazlet, Freehold, Deal, Brielle, Marlboro and Manalapan. If you would like to schedule a free initial consultation today please contact us directly at (732)858-6959.