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What Is Criminal Mischief Under New York Law?

In New York, Criminal Mischief is the crime charged against an individual for intentionally destroying, damaging, or altering property.   There are four varying degrees of Criminal Mischief; the first degree being the most severe – a felony and the fourth degree being the lowest charge – a misdemeanor.

Criminal Mischief in the First Degree is a Class B felony, punishable by up to 25 years in prison.  Under this charge of mischief, a person is guilty when with the intent to damage property and having no right to due so nor the reasonable ground to deem himself/herself entitled to due so damages the property of another by use of an explosive.

Criminal Mischief in the Second Degree is a Class D felony, which can carry a prison term of up to 7 years and minimum of approximately 3 years. When an individual damages property of another exceeding the monetary value of $1,500, he/she is charged with Criminal Mischief at the level of second degree.

A person is charged with a count of Criminal Mischief in the Third Degree when he/she intentionally damages property of another, which exceeds the amount of $250 or breaks into the locked motor vehicle of someone with the intention of stealing property, and has been convicted 3 or more times within the previous 10 year period of criminal mischief in the fourth degree as defined by section 145.00 of the New York State Penal Law, criminal mischief in the third degree (section 145.05), criminal mischief in the second degree as in section 145.10 of the law, or criminal mischief in the first degree as defined in section 145.12.  Criminal Mischief in the Third degree is classified as a Class E felony and if convicted can face up to 4 years in prison.

Criminal Mischief in the Fourth Degree is a Class A misdemeanor with a jail sentence of up to one year. The following are come classifications of mischief under the fourth degree:

1)    Intentionally damaging property of another

2)    Deliberately partaking in the destruction of an abandoned building as per the Real Property Actions and Proceedings law section 1971

3)    Exceeding $250 in property damages of another

4)    Knowingly preventing someone from communicating an emergency request for assistance by disabling or removing telephonic, TTY, or similar communication equipment while that individual is attempting to (a) seek assistance from law enforcement, fire, or emergency medical services; or (b) seek or engage in emergency assistance from another person or entity as a means of protecting oneself or a third party from pending physical injury or danger.  An ownership interest in such equipment shall not constitute a defense to a charge of this subdivision.

If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime of Criminal Mischief in New York City, please call our law office, Joseph Potashnik & Associates PLLC, at (212) 577 – 6677 to obtain professional legal assistance.