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Criminal Mischief

The term “mischief” may be included in the crime’s name, but the penalties are nothing to laugh about. A criminal mischief conviction will lead to serious consequences including expensive thousand-dollar fines and even time spent in jail. Criminal mischief can even be charged as a felony in some cases, which means possible time in prison.

Many people automatically think of vandalism or graffiti when they hear the term criminal mischief. It’s also commonly associated with juveniles as a crime done by kids. However, the crime includes all types of willful and malicious destruction of other people’s property. Not only that, but every year there are numerous people accused and arrested of criminal mischief.

If you or someone you know has been arrested for criminal mischief, then it’s imperative you seek experienced legal counsel.

Port St. Lucie Attorney for Criminal Mischief in FL

If you or someone you know has been arrested for criminal mischief, then it’s crucial you gain legal counsel as soon as possible. Having an attorney on your side such as the ones at Meltzer & Bell will give you a significant advantage in court and a thorough understanding of all your legal options. We have defense lawyers who have prosecutor experience and others who are solely dedicated to defense. This gives our firm insight into the prosecution and the practice experience we need to fight for your case.

Don’t wait another moment to protect your rights. You can reach the attorneys at Meltzer & Bell at (772) 291-2534. Call us today and set up your first consultation free of charge. Meltzer & Bell accepts clients throughout the Martin County and St. Lucie County area including Fort Pierce, Stuart, Port St. Lucie and Saint Lucie.

Overview of Criminal Mischief Charges in FL


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What Does a Criminal Mischief Charge Mean?

Many people associate criminal mischief with TV shows or films of youths committing harmless acts of graffiti and vandalism. However, criminal mischief charges aren’t reserved only for juveniles and it can include incredibly destructive property damage. Under Florida Statutes Section 806.13, a person is guilty of criminal mischief if they willfully or maliciously injure or damage personal property belonging to another person.

The crime’s severity is based on how much damage was caused to the private or personal property. If the damage to the property in question is as follows, the crime is classified as:

  • $200 or less — Second-degree misdemeanor;
  • Greater than $200 but less than $1,000 — First-degree misdemeanor; or
  • $1,000 or greater —Third-degree felony.

The crime can be classified to a third-degree felony if the offender was previously convicted of criminal mischief and the crime included the following factors:

  • Impairment or interruption of a public communication or business operation, supply of water, gas or power, transportation or other public service which costs $1,000 or more in supplies or labor to reinstate;
  • Intentionally and knowingly injure, deface or damage a synagogue, church, mosque or other place of worship if the damage is more than $250;
  • Knowingly and intentionally substantially damage or destroy a public telephone, amplifiers, telephone cables, antennas, fixtures, or any apparatus or equipment that renders a telephone inoperative or which opens the body of a public telephone; and
  • Willfully and maliciously deface, injure or damage a sexually violent predator detention facility or commitment facility

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How Much Time Can You Get for Criminal Mischief in FL?

Many people are under the wrong impression that criminal mischief is a minor crime reserved for juveniles. It does in fact have serious statutory penalties that include stiff fines and possible incarceration. The penalties for the crime depend on the criminal mischief’s offense classification, the facts of the case and your prior criminal record.

Listed below are the consequences for a criminal mischief conviction in Florida.

  • A second-degree misdemeanor criminal mischief conviction will result in:
    • Up to 60 days in jail; and
    • A possible fine of up to $500
  • A first-degree misdemeanor criminal mischief conviction will result in:
    • Up to 12 months in jail; and
    • A possible fine of up to $1,000
  • A third-degree felony criminal mischief conviction will result in:
    • Up to 5 years in prison; and
    • A possible fine of up to $5,000

A criminal mischief conviction related to graffiti will also include up to 40 hours of community service upon sentencing. If possible, the court may require you to serve up to 100 hours of community service if it’s related to removing the graffiti you produced. Additionally, a graffiti-related criminal mischief conviction is subject to the following minimum fines established under Florida Statutes Section 806.13(6)(a).

  • No less than $250 for a first conviction;
  • No less than $500 for a second conviction; or
  • No less than $1,000 for a third or subsequent conviction

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Additional Resources

Valdes v. State, 510 So.2d 631, 632 (Fla. 3d DCA 1987) — In this case, read about how the Third District Court of Appeal affirmed Arnaldo Valdes’ conviction for criminal mischief. The Court of Appeal noted that the value of the property damage was not “an essential element of the crime,” and once it is established that a defendant damaged another party’s property, the value of the property damage is relevant only for the severity of the crime. The Court of Appeals, however, in the end did reverse Valdes’ concurrent sentence of three years’ imprisonment because the jury did not find that the value of the property damage exceeded $200.

Chapter 12 | Florida Standard Jury Instructions — Visit the official website for the Florida Jury Instructions to learn more about the three elements the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt as well as key definitions and lesser included offenses. Access the instructions to learn more about a criminal mischief charge, the penalties and other important information.


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Defense Lawyer for Criminal Mischief in St. Lucie County, FL

If you or someone you know has been arrested for criminal mischief, it’s within your best interest to gain a experienced defense attorney to assist you. For skilled and effective representation get in touch with Meltzer & Bell. Our attorneys have over 20 years of practice we can utilize for your defense. Let us help you today by setting up your consultation.

Meltzer & Bell will work tirelessly to fight for your future. Call us now at (772) 291-2534 to schedule your first appointment free of charge. Meltzer & Bell accepts clients throughout the greater Martin County and St. Lucie County area including Saint Lucie, Port St. Lucie, Palm City, Fort Pierce and Stuart.


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