Criminal Mischief – C.R.S. 18-4-501 can be a serious offense in Denver, Adams, and Jefferson County. It is charged whenever someone destroys something of value which belongs, at least in part, to another person. This crime is very similar to Colorado's Theft Statute; the value of the items destroyed determines the severity of the offense.
Criminal Mischief in Arapahoe County: What is Criminal Mischief?
Criminal Mischief is charged in Arapahoe County whenever a person “knowingly damages the real or personal property” of another person, “including property owned…jointly.” The sentence for a Criminal Mischief conviction ranges from a class 2 misdemeanor (which carries a sentence up to 12 months in county jail) up to a Class 3 felony (which carries a sentence up to 12 years in the Colorado Department of Corrections).
Criminal Mischief Charges in Douglas County
The values stated above are the aggregate value of all the items which were destroyed in a criminal incident. This means the police add up the values of the items which were damaged, and the total will determine the level offense you are charged.
Police and District Attorneys Overcharge Criminal Mischief
Denver, Aurora, and Centennial police often overcharge Criminal Mischief. They add up the value of items when they were new, not what they are worth at the time the damage occurred. For example, let's say a computer was damaged during a Domestic Violence episode. The computer was worth $1,200 five years ago. Now it can be replaced for $800. The police charge the person who damaged the computer with a felony, even though the replacement value falls within a misdemeanor price range. District attorneys in Arapahoe, Larimer, and Douglas County don't budge when it comes to charging good people with harsher crimes.
An Example of Police Overcharging a Crime:
This computer was worth over $1,000 five years ago. This falls in the felony range of damage, which is more serious.
The same computer can be replaced for $800, which falls in the misdemeanor range, which is less serious.
Price Range for Damaged Items:
- Class 3 Misdemeanor
- If items were valued under $300.
- Class 2 Misdemeanor
- If items were valued from $300 – $749.
- Class 1 Misdemeanor
- If items were valued from $750 – $999.99.
- Class 6 Felony
- If items were valued from $1,000 to $4,999.
- Class 5 Felony
- If items were valued from $5,000 to $19,999
- Class 4 Felony
- If items were valued from $20,000 to $99,999.99
- Class 3 Felony
- If items were valued from $100,000 to $999,9999.99
- Class 2 Felony
- If items were valued at $1,000,000 or more.
Criminal Mischief in Adams County and Jointly Owned Property
If you jointly own an item which you damage during a fight, prank, or vandalism, Criminal Mischief is charged the same as if you didn't own the item. We often see this in Domestic Violence situations, when a man gets frustrated and throws an item which both parties own. Because the property is owned both by the defendant and the alleged victim, the police are able to prosecute the man for damaging his own property. In these types of situations, the Domestic Violence label is also attached, even if the “significant other” wasn't at home when the damage occurred.
Jefferson County Criminal Mischief Lawyer
Because the government overcharges Criminal Mischief in Jefferson County, it is vital to your future to work with an experienced criminal defense lawyer. As experienced defense attorneys, we have worked with many good people who have been overcharged by the government. We often get charges reduced to the correct dollar amount of the items which were damaged. By fighting for fair restitution, we are sometimes able to get a client's case dismissed. In this way, our clients are able to avoid jail or prison time, get a deferred sentence, or accept a favorable plea agreement. Don't stand in alone in front of a judge – contact a skilled criminal lawyer to stand by your side.
Colorado Criminal Mischief Statute: C.R.S. 18-4-501
“A person commits criminal mischief when he or she knowingly damages the real or personal property of one or more other persons, including property owned by the person jointly with another person or property owned by the person in which another person has a possessory or proprietary interest, in the course or a single criminal episode.
(2) and (3) Repealed.
(4) Criminal mischief is:
(a) A class 3 misdemeanor when the aggregate damage to the real or personal property is less than three hundred dollars;
(b) A class 2 misdemeanor when the aggregate damage to the real or personal property is three hundred dollars or more but less than seven hundred fifty dollars;
(c) A class 1 misdemeanor when the aggregate damage to the real or personal property is seven hundred fifty dollars or more but less than one thousand dollars;
(d) A class 6 felony when the aggregate damage to the real or personal property is one thousand dollars or more but less than five thousand dollars;
(e) A class 5 felony when the aggregate damage to the real or personal property is five thousand dollars or more but less than twenty thousand dollars;
(f) A class 4 felony when the aggregate damage to the real or personal property is twenty thousand dollars or more but less than one hundred thousand dollars;
(g) A class 3 felony when the aggregate damage to the real or personal property is one hundred thousand dollars or more but less than one million dollars; and
(h) A class 2 felony when the aggregate damage to the real or personal property is one million dollars or more.”