Criminal Mischief Offense

New Jersey Criminal Mischief Offense Attorney

Have you been accused of Criminal Mischief in New Jersey? Criminal Mischief is one of several property crimes an individual may be charged with in New Jersey. Others include crimes like Graffiti, Vandalism, or Trespassing. Criminal Mischief may be a disorderly persons offense in some situations, but it can also be a 2nd Degree Crime which carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison. What is worse, a conviction may result in not just jail time, but difficulty obtaining future employment, mortgages, or acceptance into certain living communities. When facing such trying prospects, times can be hard, but an experienced New Jersey Defense Attorney can make all the difference. My name is Anthony N. Palumbo, New Jersey Criminal Mischief Lawyer and partner at Palumbo & Renaud, and if you've been accused of Criminal Mischief in New Jersey, you want me on your side.

Former Prosecutor Fighting Your Criminal Mischief Charge

I am a former prosecutor and current public defender with over 35 years of criminal trial experience in New Jersey, I know what it's like when good people make poor decisions, and I will aggressively defend your rights and make sure you receive the mildest consequence possible given your case. Contact me, Criminal Mischief Lawyer for a free initial consultation at 1-866-664-8118, and I will fight for you. Our firm defends clients throughout New Jersey including the counties of Union, Middlesex, Somerset, Mercer, Monmouth, and Essex.

New Jersey Criminal Mischief Law

A person is guilty of Criminal Mischief if he:

  • Purposely or knowingly damages the tangible property of another or damages tangible property of another recklessly or negligently in the employment of fire, explosives or other dangerous means listed in subsection a. of N. J.S. A. 2C:17-3; or
  • Purposely, knowingly or recklessly tampers with tangible property of another so as to endanger person or property, including the damaging or destroying of a rental premises by a tenant in retaliation for institution of eviction proceedings.

Penalties if Convicted

The penalties for a conviction of Criminal Mischief are complicated and depend on a number of factors surrounding the circumstances. Your New Jersey Criminal Mischief Lawyer will be able to explain them to you best. The following is a breakdown of the different charges and penalties. The list is numbered 1 through 10 and sets forth the various acts of Criminal Mischief and resulting charges. At the bottom of the page is an explanation of the penalties that a conviction of each charge results in.

  • Criminal mischief is a crime of the third degree if the actor purposely or knowingly causes pecuniary loss of $2,000.00 or more.
  • Criminal mischief is a crime of the fourth Degree if the actor causes pecuniary loss in excess of $500.00 but less than $2000.00.
  • It is a Disorderly Persons Offense if the actor causes pecuniary loss of $500.00 or less.
  • Criminal mischief is a crime of the third degree if the actor damages, defaces, eradicates, alters, receives, releases or causes the loss of any research property used by the research facility, or otherwise causes physical disruption to the functioning of the research facility.
  • Criminal mischief is a crime of the fourth degree if the actor damages, removes or impairs the operation of any device, including, but not limited to, a sign, signal, light or other equipment, which serves to regulate or ensure the safety of air traffic at any airport, landing field, landing strip, heliport, helistop or any other aviation facility; however, if the damage, removal or impediment of the device recklessly causes bodily injury or damage to property, the actor is guilty of a crime of the third degree, or if it recklessly causes a death, the actor is guilty of a crime of the second degree.
  • Criminal mischief is a crime of the fourth degree if the actor interferes or tampers with any airport, landing field, landing strip, heliport, helistop or any other aviation facility; however if the interference or tampering with the airport, landing field, landing strip, heliport, helistop or other aviation facility recklessly causes bodily injury or damage to property, the actor is guilty of a crime of the third degree, or if it recklessly causes a death, the actor is guilty of a crime of the second degree.
  • Criminal mischief is a crime of the third degree if the actor tampers with a grave, crypt, mausoleum or other site where human remains are stored or interred, with the purpose to desecrate, destroy or steal such human remains or any part thereof.
  • Criminal mischief is a crime of the third degree if the actor purposely or knowingly causes a substantial interruption or impairment of public communication, transportation, supply of water, oil, gas or power, or other public service. Criminal mischief is a crime of the second degree if the substantial interruption or impairment recklessly causes death.
  • Criminal mischief is a crime of the fourth degree if the actor purposely or knowingly breaks, digs up, obstructs or otherwise tampers with any pipes or mains for conducting gas, oil or water, or any works erected for supplying buildings with gas, oil or water, or any appurtenances or appendages therewith connected, or injures, cuts, breaks down, destroys or otherwise tampers with any electric light wires, poles or appurtenances, or any telephone, telecommunications, cable television or telegraph wires, lines, cable or appurtenances.
  • A person convicted of an offense of criminal mischief that involves an act of graffiti may, in addition to any other penalty imposed by the court, be required to pay to the owner of the damaged property monetary restitution in the amount of the pecuniary damage caused by the act of graffiti and to perform community service, which shall include removing the graffiti from the property, if appropriate. If community service is ordered, it shall be for either not less than 20 days or not less than the number of days necessary to remove the graffiti from the property.

To view the entire New Jersey Statute on Criminal Mischief see N.J.S.A. 2C:17-3.

disorderly persons offense

  • Up to 6 months in prison

4th Degree Crime

  • Up to 18 months in prison

3rd Degree Crime

  • 3 to 5 years in prison

2nd Degree Crime

  • 5 to 10 years in prison

Defending your Charge

Still have questions about your charge and the attaching penalties? If you would like to know the probable outcome of your case given the circumstances contact me, New Jersey Criminal Mischief Lawyer at 1-866-664-8118 for a free initial consultation to talk about your case. I will give you an honest assessment of the probable outcome of your charge, and will plan a strategy for your defense.

I can help. I am an experienced New Jersey criminal and municipal defense attorney who has handled thousands of cases over the last 35 years of legal practice.