What is Criminal Mischief?


1/22/2018

What is criminal mischief and what is the penalty associated with this criminal charge in Philadelphia?  Mischief is often used in a playful or positive sense, as in, “He has a mischievous personality,” or “she’s always up to some social mischief” (a positive stirring of a social event or social media for the purpose of advancing the conversation).  The charge of criminal mischief is based upon the destruction of personal property.  It is often charged in connection with other offenses such as vandalism, theft, trespassing or breaking and entering.  It can also be a stand-alone charge.

For example, when a person “tags” a structure or building with graffiti the act of defacing the property is considered to be vandalism, but the act of damaging the underlying property is criminal mischief.

The law has established six separate examples of what constitutes criminal mischief including:

  1. Intentionally causing damage to another person’s property
  2. Intentionally causing damage someone else’s property with fire, explosives or other dangerous acts
  3. Marking, tagging or damaging public or private property with graffiti from a marker or spray-can
  4. Marking, tagging or damaging public or private property with a paintball gun or paintball paint
  5. Causing property damage through deception, lies or threats
  6. Tampering with another person’s property in a way which risks property damage or injury

Obviously tagging a building or defacing public or property with graffiti could be classified as criminal mischief.  Smashing a car window, keying a car or slashing tires are acts of criminal mischief.  Putting sugar or other substances into someone else’s gas tank or setting someone’s possessions on fire during an argument could be classified as criminal mischief in Pennsylvania.

There is a lot which Wimmer Criminal Defense can accomplish in defense of criminal mischief cases.  Contacting Lauren Wimmer early on in these cases substantially increases the likelihood of a positive outcome.  Wimmer Criminal Defense challenges all evidence and the process of investigation in your case.  There are steps we can take to help reduce the impact of what has happened resulting in reduced consequences or the dismissal of all charges.  If you are wondering “what is criminal mischief and what is the penalty associated with this criminal charge in Philadelphia?” we invite you to review the comments of our clients and contact us or call 215-712-1212 for a free consultation.