Often times, people underestimate the severity of being charged with criminal mischief, more commonly known as vandalism, in Texas. Criminal mischief, like assault, can range anywhere from a simple Class C Misdemeanor all the way up to a serious 1st Degree Felony, largely depending upon the value of the property and the extent of the damage done to the property.
What is Criminal Mischief?
In Texas, a person commits criminal mischief if, without the consent of the owner, the person:
- intentionally or knowingly damages or destroys the tangible property of the owner;
- intentionally or knowingly tampers with the tangible property of the owner and causes pecuniary loss or substantial inconvenience to the owner or a third person; or
- intentionally or knowingly makes markings, including inscriptions, slogans, drawings, or paintings, on the tangible property of the owner.
Graffiti and Vandalism Charges in Texas
In Texas, a person commits graffiti if, without the consent of the owner, the person intentionally or knowingly makes markings, including inscriptions, slogans, drawings, or paintings, on the tangible property of the owner with:
- an indelible marker; or
- an etching or engraving device
Defending Criminal Mischief in Texas
If you are facing criminal mischief charges, you should contact a criminal mischief lawyer as soon as possible. Punishment levels can be enhanced depending upon what type of property was tampered with. Not only must the State prove the value of the property and the extent of the damage done, but they must also prove that you actually committed the criminal act which can often be quite challenging if you were not apprehended or arrested at the scene of the crime. Having a skilled criminal defense attorney represent you will ensure the State respects your legal rights and meets their burden of proof in attempting to convict you of criminal mischief.