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Criminal Mischief Colorado - Criminal Defense Attorney

Criminal Mischief is the destruction of the property of another. The value of the property will impact the level of the charge. The destruction of higher value property can result in felony charges while lower valued property can result in a misdemeanor. Some municipal courts refer to it as destruction of property or vandalism.

This offense has penalties that can be server and can include prison time. Contact the Lawrence Law Firm to handle you charges of destruction of property in Colorado. We routinely represent criminal defendants. We understand the process and your best options.

Criminal Mischief in Colorado

Colorado Law defines criminal mischief as knowingly damaging the real or personal property of one or more people. Stealing does not qualify as damaging. The focus is solely on the damaging or destroying the property. It can also include defacing that property.

The use of the word knowingly speaks to the mental state required to commit the offense of criminal mischief. A person cannot accidentally commit the offense of criminal mischief. The action must be intentional.

Property of another can include joint or martial property. A defendant destroying their own property can face charges if the defendant is married.

Criminal Mischief as an Act of Domestic Violence

Domestic violence includes any criminal acts against property. An act committed for the purpose of intimidation, harassment, or retaliation is domestic violence. Criminal mischief will include damaging joint property.

This would include marital or joint property. If you are married, domestic violence is charged if you destroy martial property during an arg and get mad and slam a door and break it down, it can be charged as an act of domestic violence. 

Domestic violence is not an independent crime under Colorado law. It is a sentence enhancer that can apply to any crime that meets the definition.

Domestic violence will require a defendant undergo special probation in most cases. This would require the defendant to complete domestic violence evaluation and any recommended treatment. 

Criminal mischief is a common domestic violence charge. It is not a serious offense. A conviction will lead to a domestic violence conviction on a defendant's criminal record. It is always important to speak with a domestic violence attorney in these cases.

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Other Terms for Criminal Mischief

There are several jurisdictions in the Denver Metro Area. Some courts use the Colorado Revised Statutes. These are the laws written by the Colorado legislature. Municipal courts will rely on their own city codes.

City codes will typically use different language. Aurora, for example, labels the crime as destruction of private property. While the name is different, the basic definition of the crime is the same. Prosecution happens under Municipal codes against defendants that damage low value property.

The attorneys at Lawrence Law Firm can work with defendants charged with any type of criminal mischief. This would include vandalism, tampering, destruction of property, domestic violence, or any intentional act resulting in charges of criminal mischief.

Criminal Mischief Punishment

The penalties faced for criminal mischief depend on the amount of damage and value of damages caused.  C.R.S. 18-4-501 defines criminal mischief. The classifications are as follows:

Amount of Damage

Criminal Mischief Penalties

Less than $300

Petty Offense

  • Up to 10 days in jail

  • Fine up to 300

$300 - $1,000

Class 2 Misdemeanor

  • Max of 120 days jail

  • Fine up $750

$1,000 - $2,000

Class 1 Misdemeanor

  • Jail up to 364 days

  • Fine up to $1,000

$2,000 - $5,000

Class 6 Felony

  • A year to a year and a half year in prison

  • Fine from $1,000 to $100.000

$5,000 - $20,000

Class 5 Felony

  • 1 to 3 years in prison

  • Fine from $1,000 to $100,000

$20,000 - $100,000

Class 4 Felony

  • 2 to 6 years in prison

  • Fine from $2,000 to $500,000

$100,000 - $1,000,000

Class 3 Felony

  • 4 to 12 years in prison

  • Fine from $3,000 to $750,000

Over $1,000,000

Class 2 Felony

  • 8 to 24 years in prison

  • Fine from $5,000 to $1,000,000

Like all crimes, it is possible to receive a probationary sentence. The chances of probation depend on the facts of the case and a variety of other factors. It is important to speak with a criminal defense attorney to determine your options and way to proceed.

Courts issue restitution in criminal mischief cases. restitution is an order for a defendant to pay for any damages they cause. It is hard, if not impossible, to avoid paying restitution.

Defenses to Criminal Mischief in Colorado

Defenses in Colorado are dependent on the facts of your case. It is always prudent to speak with a skilled criminal defense attorney to understand the risks of your case.

In some cases, affirmative defense may be available. These are defenses that admit to the alleged action. However, the law justifies the actions under certain fact pattern.

The most common affirmative defense is self-defense. This is the use of force to defend against an attack. The force must be equivalent. This means, it must only be the force needed to repeal or defendant against an attack.

While self-defense would typically be applicable to an assault, property is damages during a confrontation. Prosecutors will charge a defendant with multiple crimes.

 In some cases, you can claim accident, self-defense, choice of evils, general denial, or other affirmative defenses. A factual analysis will determine what arguments are applicable to each case. It is always important to speak with a criminal defense and domestic violence attorney to discover your options. 

Finally, a defendant can challenge the amount of damage. In a lot of cases, law enforcement will consider the damage to be the entire value of the property. This assessment is often wrong.

This is typically not the best defense to start with. The argument is not that a defendant is innocent. Rather, the defense is arguing about the level of the criminal infraction.

Common Related Criminal Charges

Law enforcement arrest defendants during a single criminal episode. This episode can include several criminal infractions. As mentioned above, a defendant commits criminal mischief if they damage property during an assault.

Burglary can also include a destruction of property. Burglary is the breaking and entering into someone's property to commit another crime. By virtue of breaking and entering, a defendant commits a property crime.

There are also several other crimes that include criminal mischief. Arson is the destruction of another's property by burning it. Some cities prosecute graffiti crimes. It is important to hire a criminal defense attorney to know all the crimes you are facing.

Colorado Criminal Mischief Lawyers

Criminal mischief may seem like a simple criminal charge, but it can be extremely complicated and hard to defend. This is especially true when dealing with potential acts of domestic violence. 

Our criminal mischief defense attorneys have the experience to represent you diligently. We can competently handle criminal mischief Colorado charges. Our firm handles cases in Aurora, Denver, Arapahoe, Douglas, Denver County, and any other jurisdiction in the Denver Metro Area.

If you’ve been accused of criminal mischief, do not hesitate to request a free consultation from our criminal defense attorney. At the Lawrence Law Firm, we use our experience to defend you and your rights. Schedule your free consultation to speak with our Aurora criminal mischief attorney.

Request a consultation today.