Vandalism and Criminal Mischief
"The punishment for vandalism is dependent on the value of the resulting damage."
"With penalties of up to 99-years in prison, you need a skilled lawyer to fight these charges."
Examples of Vandalism and Criminal Mischief in Texas
Vandalism occurs when a person allegedly:
- “intentionally” or “knowingly” damage property that belongs to someone else.
- “intentionally” or “knowingly” placed marks, inscriptions, or drew graffiti on another person’s or public property.
- “intentionally” or “knowingly” tampered with another person’s property causing them monetary loss or great inconvenience.
Is Vandalism a Felony in Texas?
The punishment for vandalism is dependent on the value of damage created in the commission of the crime. This offense can be punishable by a Class A, B, or C Misdemeanor, by a State Jail Felony or any of the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd-degree felonies. Having a skilled and aggressive lawyer to defend your rights is vital to the outcome of these offenses.
The Texas State Law identifies several classifications of criminal mischief. These depend on specific circumstances and the amount of property damage resulting from the act.
Criminal Mischief or Vandalism can include:
- Damage to a home or habitation
- Damage to a place of business
- Damage to an automobile
- Damage to a school
- Damage to a place of worship
- Destruction or defacement of private or public property
Note: that destruction of your own property that is partially owned by someone else, such as a car you are still paying for, can result in criminal mischief charges under some circumstances.
The penalties for vandalism or criminal mischief can range from a Class C misdemeanor bearing a fine to a 1st Degree Felony leading to up to 99-years in prison. Having a skilled and aggressive criminal defense lawyer to represent you and manage the prosecution’s assumptions is imperative to the outcome of these cases.
Contact for Fast Consultation.
TITLE 7. OFFENSES AGAINST PROPERTY
CHAPTER 28. ARSON, CRIMINAL MISCHIEF, AND OTHER PROPERTY DAMAGE OR DESTRUCTION
Sec. 28.03. CRIMINAL MISCHIEF. (a) A person commits an offense if, without the effective consent of the owner:
(1) he intentionally or knowingly damages or destroys the tangible property of the owner;
(2) he 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
(3) he intentionally or knowingly makes markings, including inscriptions, slogans, drawings, or paintings, on the tangible property of the owner.
(b) Except as provided by Subsections (f) and (h), an offense under this section is:
(1) a Class C misdemeanor if:
(A) the amount of pecuniary loss is less than $100; or
(B) except as provided in Subdivision (3)(A) or (3)(B), it causes substantial inconvenience to others;
(2) a Class B misdemeanor if the amount of pecuniary loss is $100 or more but less than $750;
(3) a Class A misdemeanor if:
(A) the amount of pecuniary loss is $750 or more but less than $2,500; or
(B) the actor causes in whole or in part impairment or interruption of any public water supply, or causes to be diverted in whole, in part, or in any manner, including installation or removal of any device for any such purpose, any public water supply, regardless of the amount of the pecuniary loss;
(4) a state jail felony if the amount of pecuniary loss is:
(A) $2,500 or more but less than $30,000;
(B) less than $2,500, if the property damaged or destroyed is a habitation and if the damage or destruction is caused by a firearm or explosive weapon;
(C) less than $2,500, if the property was a fence used for the production or containment of:
(i) cattle, bison, horses, sheep, swine, goats, exotic livestock, or exotic poultry; or
(ii) game animals as that term is defined by Section 63.001, Parks and Wildlife Code; or
(D) less than $30,000 and the actor:
(i) causes wholly or partly impairment or interruption of property used for flood control purposes or a dam or of public communications, public transportation, public gas or power supply, or
(ii) causes to be diverted wholly, partly, or in any manner, including installation or removal of any device for any such purpose, any public communications or public gas or power supply;
(5) a felony of the third degree if:
(A) the amount of the pecuniary loss is $30,000 or more but less than $150,000; or
(B) the actor, by discharging a firearm or other weapon or by any other means, causes the death of one or more head of cattle or bison or one or more horses;
(6) a felony of the second degree if the amount of pecuniary loss is $150,000 or more but less than $300,000; or
(7) a felony of the first degree if the amount of pecuniary loss is $300,000 or more.
(c) For the purposes of this section, it shall be presumed that a person who is receiving the economic benefit of public communications, public water, gas, or power supply, has knowingly tampered with the tangible property of the owner if the communication or supply has been:
(1) diverted from passing through a metering device; or
(2) prevented from being correctly registered by a metering device; or
(3) activated by any device installed to obtain public communications, public water, gas, or power supply without a metering device.
(d) The terms “public communication, public transportation, public gas or power supply, or other public service” and “public water supply” shall mean, refer to, and include any such services subject to regulation by the Public Utility Commission of Texas, the Railroad Commission of Texas, or the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission or any such services enfranchised by the State of Texas or any political subdivision thereof.
(e) When more than one item of tangible property, belonging to one or more owners, is damaged, destroyed, or tampered with in violation of this section pursuant to one scheme or continuing course of conduct, the conduct may be considered as one offense, and the amounts of pecuniary loss to property resulting from the damage to, destruction of, or tampering with the property may be aggregated in determining the grade of the offense.
(f) An offense under this section is a state jail felony if the damage or destruction is inflicted on a place of worship or human burial, a public monument, or a community center that provides medical, social, or educational programs and the amount of the pecuniary loss to real property or to tangible personal property is $750 or more but less than $30,000.
g) In this section:
(1) “Explosive weapon” means any explosive or incendiary device that is designed, made, or adapted for the purpose of inflicting serious bodily injury, death, or substantial property damage, or for the principal purpose of causing such a loud report as to cause undue public alarm or terror, and includes:
(A) an explosive or incendiary bomb, grenade, rocket, and mine;
(B) a device designed, made, or adapted for delivering or shooting an explosive weapon; and
(C) a device designed, made, or adapted to start a fire in a time-delayed manner.
(2) “Firearm” has the meaning assigned by Section 46.01.
(3) “Institution of higher education” has the meaning assigned by Section 61.003, Education Code.
(4) “Aluminum wiring” means an insulated or
(5) “Bronze wiring” means an insulated or
(6) “Copper wiring” means an insulated or
(7) “Transportation communications equipment” means:
(A) an official traffic-control device, railroad sign or signal, or traffic-control signal, as those terms are defined by Section 541.304, Transportation Code; or
(B) a sign, signal, or device erected by a railroad, public body, or public officer to direct the movement of a railroad train, as defined by Section 541.202, Transportation Code.
(8) “Transportation communications device” means any item attached to transportation communications equipment, including aluminum wiring, bronze wiring, and copper wiring.
(h) An offense under this section is a state jail felony if the amount of the pecuniary loss to real property or to tangible personal property is $750 or more but less than $30,000 and the damage or destruction is inflicted on a public or private elementary school, secondary school, or institution of higher education.
(i) Notwithstanding Subsection (b), an offense under this section is a felony of the first degree if the property is livestock and the damage is caused by introducing bovine spongiform encephalopathy, commonly known as mad cow disease, or a disease described by Section 161.041(a), Agriculture Code. In this subsection, “livestock” has the meaning assigned by Section 161.001, Agriculture Code.
j) Notwithstanding Subsection (b), an offense under this section is a felony of the third degree if:
(1) the tangible property damaged, destroyed, or tampered with is transportation communications equipment or a transportation communications device; and
(2) the amount of the pecuniary loss to the tangible property is less than $150,000.
(k) Subsection (a)(1) or (2) does not apply if the tangible personal property of the owner was
(1) actual discharge of official duties as a member of the United States armed forces or the state military forces as defined by Section 437.001, Government Code; or
(2) regular agricultural labor duties and practices.