Criminal Damage – El Mirage
What Constitutes Criminal Damage?
In Arizona, there are six different ways that a person can be charged with Criminal Damage:
- Recklessly defacing or damaging property of another person.
- Recklessly tampering with property of another person so as substantially to impair its function or value.
- Recklessly damaging property of a utility.
- Recklessly parking any vehicle in such a manner as to deprive livestock of access to the only reasonably available water.
- Recklessly drawing or inscribing a message, slogan, sign or symbol that is made on any public or private building, structure or surface, except the ground, and that is made without permission of the owner.
- Intentionally tampering with utility property.
Penalties for Criminal Damage
The penalties for a Criminal Damage charge vary depending on the severity of the offense and the dollar amount of damages as follows:
- Class 4 felony: Recklessly damaging property of another in an amount of $10,000 or more.
- Class 4 felony: Recklessly damaging the property of a utility in an amount of $5,000 or more or if the person intentionally tampers with utility property and the damage causes an imminent safety hazard to any person.
- Class 5 felony: Recklessly damaging property of another in an amount of $2,000 or more but less than $10,000 or if the damage is inflicted to promote, further or assist any criminal street gang or criminal syndicate with the intent to intimidate.
- Class 6 felony: Recklessly damaging property of another in an amount of $1,000 or more but less than $2,000.
- Class 1 misdemeanor: Recklessly damaging property of another in an amount of more than $250 but less than $1,000.
- Class 2 misdemeanor: In all other cases not covered above.
If a person is convicted of a class 4 felony Criminal Damage charge, they may face 1 to 3.75 years in prison, up to 4 years of probation, and a maximum fine of $150,000 plus surcharges.
If a person is convicted of a class 5 felony Criminal Damage charge, the punishment may include 6 months to 2.5 years in prison, up to 3 years of probation, and a maximum fine of $150,000 plus surcharges.
If a person is convicted of a class 6 felony Criminal Damage charge, the punishment may include 4 months to 2 years in prison, up to 3 years of probation, and a maximum fine of $150,000 plus surcharges.
A class 1 misdemeanor conviction for Criminal Damage may lead to a maximum of 6 months in jail, up to 3 years of probation, and a fine of $2,500 plus surcharges.
A class 2 misdemeanor conviction for Criminal Damage may lead to a maximum of 4 months in jail, up to 2 years of probation, and a fine of $750 plus surcharges.
Consequences of a Criminal Damage Conviction
Aside from the prison, jail, probation and fines listed above, Criminal Damage will also lead to additional consequences. First, you will have a permanent criminal conviction on your record because Arizona does not allow for expungement of criminal convictions. This criminal record may lead to difficulty finding or maintaining employment. It can also cause issues with finding housing, applying for loans, holding professional licenses, and obtaining security clearance. Further, if convicted of a felony, you will lose civil rights, including the right to possess a firearm, vote, run for public office, or serve on a jury.
If Criminal Damage is charged due to property damaged during a domestic dispute, the offense may be charged as domestic violence. This is the case even if the property was partially owned by you, if the other owner of the property is your spouse, romantic partner, child, or other person falling under the domestic violence statutes. A domestic violence conviction makes you a prohibited possessor, meaning you would be unable to legally possess or own a firearm. Domestic violence convictions also may influence your ability to gain employment, find housing, or hold certain professional licenses. If you are involved in a divorce or child custody dispute, a domestic violence conviction can put you at a serious disadvantage in the family court system.
Defenses for Criminal Damage
A common defense to many Criminal Damage charges is that the person did not act recklessly in causing the damage. If damage was caused during a fight, you may be able to claim that you were defending yourself and the resulting damage was purely accidental. This may be a situation where a person is fleeing from a domestic violence incident and bumps into a table, accidentally causing a glass or plate to fall to the floor and break.
Many Criminal Damage cases come down to a dollar amount. If there is a dispute regarding the actual value of the item that was damaged, a successful challenge of the dollar amount of damages may significantly reduce charges from a felony to a misdemeanor.
Contact Rosenstein Law Group For a Free Criminal Damage Consultation
If you are charged with Criminal Damage charges in El Mirage, a conviction can have serious, lasting consequences. Contact the attorneys at the Rosenstein Law Group at 480-248-7666 or online for a free consultation and case evaluation.
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