Criminal damage to property, often referred to as vandalism, occurs when an individual causes intentional damage to property. In the state of Minnesota, a vandalism charge can result in major fines and serious jail time. If you have been charged with criminal damage to property in Minnesota, you need a qualified defense attorney on your side.
Understanding Vandalism and Criminal Property Damage
There are many different potential charges involving criminal damage to property. Any case involving the intentional damage of a person’s property can result in vandalism charges. The seriousness of the charges will depend on a variety of factors, including the extent of the damage, the motive, and whether or not any bodily harm occurred.
The most serious criminal damage charge is a first-degree felony. Felony vandalism charges are typically filed when:
- Reasonable bodily harm occurs;
- The vandalism is related to a utility and impairs service to the public; or
- The property value is affected by $1,000 or more.
A felony damage conviction can result in fines of up to $10,000 and/or a prison sentence of up to five years. In cases involving utility services, you may face jail time of up to ten years – if it is believed that you intentionally caused the damage in order to impair the services.
A secondary criminal property damage charge usually occurs when vandalism or damage was caused because of a person’s race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or national origin. These crimes, which often are referred to as hate crimes, can lead to fines of up to $3,000 and over a year in prison.
In vandalism cases where the value of the property damage is under $1,000, you can be charged with a third-degree misdemeanor. The fine for a misdemeanor criminal property damage conviction can range up to one year in jail and/or fines up to $3,000.
Criminal Damage Lawyer
When you are charged with criminal damage to property, you need a lawyer to help build your case. With the right lawyer, you can get your charges or sentence reduced. If you have been falsely accused of vandalism, then your criminal damage defense lawyer will help you prove your innocence.
In a case involving vandalism, your attorney will gather the evidence that will help you argue your case. Your lawyer will also interview potential witnesses, and put together a solid defense to ensure the best possible outcome – given your charges.
Always A Free Consultation
If you are facing criminal damage charges, then we can help. At the Brown Law Offices, P.A., we work hard on your case to get the best possible outcome for you. No matter what your charges are, we can defend your case anywhere in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area – and beyond. Don’t let a criminal damage charge affect the rest of your life. Call us today at 763-323-6555, or complete our free online consultation form.