Are you accused of vandalism or criminal mischief in McLennan County?
Seek advice from a Waco criminal defense attorney if you have been accused of criminal mischief in McLennan County. Vandalism and destruction of property are considered “criminal mischief,” which will be charged either a misdemeanor or a felony depending mainly on the amount of damage to the property. Since 1925, Dunnam & Dunnam has defended people accused of a crime in McLennan County. Call us at 254-753-6437 to talk about your matter for free.
Waco Texas Vandalism Laws and Statutes
Vandalism can result in various charges under Texas laws. The following defines the offenses an individual can be charged with if they commit vandalism.
According to Tex. Penal Code Ann. § 28.04, Reckless Damage or Destruction occurs when an individual recklessly damages or destroys the owner’s property. This offense can result in a Class C misdemeanor. Criminal Mischief under Tex. Penal Code Ann. § 28.03 occurs when an individual intentionally or knowingly, without the owner’s consent, does any of the following:
- Damages or destroys the tangible property of the owner,
- Tampers with the physical property of the owner and causes loss or substantial inconvenience to any person, and
- Makes markings, drawings, paintings, writings, inscriptions, or slogans on the owner’s tangible property.
This offense is punishable as a Class C, B or A misdemeanor, or a state jail felony or felony of the third, second or first degree, depending on the amount of loss resulting from the damage.
An individual can be charged with committing Graffiti (Tex. Penal Code Ann. § 28.08) if they intentionally or knowingly draw, paint, spray paint, mark on, inscribe or write on the tangible property of an owner without their permission by using:
- Permanent marker, and
- An etching or engraving tool.
This offense is punishable as a Class A or B misdemeanor or state jail felony, felony of the third, second, or first degree, depending on the amount of damage to the property and where the graffiti was committed.
An individual could also be charged with an Arson offense if they intentionally or recklessly destroy property by using fire or an explosion under Tex. Penal Code § 28.02. This offense is punishable as a state jail felony, felony of the first degree, a felony of the second degree, or a felony of the first degree, depending on if death or injury resulting to any person as a result of the arson, and depending on where the arson occurred.
Penalties for Vandalism in Waco
The minimum statutory penalties, as defined in Chapter 12 of the Texas Penal Code, for vandalism offenses, are listed below. However, these punishments can increase depending on whether the offender has previously been convicted of a felony, caused death or serious bodily injury while committing the offense, or used it while they committed or attempted to commit the crime.
- A person charged and convicted with a vandalism offense can result in a Class C misdemeanor. This offense can result in a fine of up to $500.
- A class B misdemeanor can lead to a jail sentence up to 180 days or a fine, not more than $2,000.
- Class A misdemeanors can result in a one-year jail sentence or a fine not exceeding $4,000.
- State jail felonies can result in a jail sentence ranging from 180 days to two years or a fine up to $10,000.
- A felony of the third degree can lead to two to ten years in prison or fines up to $10,000.
- Felonies of the second degree can result in two to 20 years in prison or a fine not exceeding $10,000.
- A felony of the first degree is punishable by a prison sentence ranging from five to 99 years or life imprisonment or a fine not more than $10,000.
Frequently Asked Questions About Criminal Justice
Like a lot of people, you probably have questions about the Waco criminal justice system. Nothing beats meeting your lawyer face-to-face. But we understand that cannot be as quick as you need answers. We have created some questions and answers to frequently asked questions involving criminal law.
Waco Criminal Defense Attorney For Vandalism
If you have been accused of vandalism in McLennan County, you need to call an attorney experienced handling these charges. Waco criminal defense attorneys at Dunnam & Dunnam have decades of experience with criminal mischief charges. If you need an aggressive criminal defense lawyer in Waco, call us at 254-753-6437.