Alabama Criminal Defense Lawyer

Criminal Property Damage


Criminal property damage can take many forms. From vandalism of private property with spray paint to breaking out windows and damaging yard decorations, criminal property damage can cause a lot of problems. Property damage can cost the victim hundreds or even thousands of dollars in repairs to fix the damage done by vandals and other criminals. This crime has some various penalties that depend on the classification of the crime along with the amount of damage that was done to the victim’s property. Some penalties may include jail time and a fine or both.

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Criminal Property Damage Laws

Criminal property damage has several different classifications and degrees. The first classification is criminal mischief in the first degree. Criminal mischief in the first degree is when a person intentionally does damage to property that they have no right or reasonable ground to believe they have a right to inflict that damage on said property. If the damage sustained by the property totals over $2,500 worth of damages or is caused by an explosion, is it also considered criminal mischief in the first degree. This offense is a Class C felony in Alabama.

Criminal mischief in the second degree is similar to criminal mischief in the first degree. What changes is the amount of damages done to the property. If the damages are at minimum $500 and do not go over $2500 it is criminal mischief in the second degree. This offense is a Class A misdemeanor. Criminal mischief in the third degree requires the damages done to another person’s property to be less than $500. This is considered a Class B misdemeanor by Alabama legal code.

Another classification of criminal property damage is criminal tampering in the first degree. In order to be considered guilty of this crime a person who has no right or reasonable ground to believe they have a right to intentionally cause an interruption or an impairment of a service rendered to the public by a utility. This is considered a Class C felony.

You can also be charged with criminal property damage for intentionally dropping litter on public or private property. This also goes for parks, lakes, and private ponds. Criminal littering is a Class C misdemeanor.

Penalties for Criminal Property Damage

The penalties for criminal property damage are tough, as they are meant to be a deterrent to prevent individuals from participating in damaging the property of others. Those who have been convicted of criminal mischief in the first degree could get put in prison for up to 10 years depending on the exact circumstances of the crime itself. You could also be looking at a steep fine of $15,000 for your crime.

The penalty for criminal mischief in the second degree is possibly a $6,000 fine and up to a year in prison depending on the crime. Criminal littering is a $500 fine and you could end up in jail for 90 days. Criminal tampering in the first degree is also a Class C felony and carries with it a sentence of up to 10 years in prison and a $15,000 fine.

Legal Defense Strategies

You need to seek legal representation by a lawyer specializing in criminal property damage cases right away if facing these types of charges. A lawyer can help cut a deal that would include you paying for the damages rather than jail time. In some cases it might be ideal to set up anger management counseling as a means to demonstrate that you are seeking to better yourself and thus reduce the sentence or even avoid a conviction altogether.