Arizona law prohibits recklessly causing damage to someone else’s property. The classification of a criminal damage offense will depend on the value of lost property and the type of damaged property. This crime is often charged as a felony and carries strict penalties.
It’s essential that you contact a Mesa criminal damage lawyer as soon as you can if you’re facing a criminal damage charge. They’ll answer your legal questions and help you determine what to do next.
Criminal Damage Laws in Mesa
You may receive a criminal damage charge in Arizona for the following behaviors:
- Tampering with and substantially impairing the value or function of property
- Blocking livestock from accessing water by parking your vehicle in the way
- Drawing a symbol, sign, slogan, or message on property (graffiti)
- Defacing or causing damage to someone’s personal property
- Purposely tampering with or damaging utility property
Aggravated Criminal Damage
You may receive an aggravated criminal damage charge for damaging specific types of property. This is a felony crime, regardless of how much the property is worth, in the following cases:
- Tampering with or damaging an agriculture, utility, or construction site to take metals
- Causing damage to property used for religion or worship purposes
- Causing damage to an educational facility or school building
- Damaging mortuary or cemetery property
Penalties for Criminal Damage in Mesa
A criminal damage offense may count as a class 4 felony, which carries up to 3.75 years of prison and probation if the damage amounts to at least $10,000. If you have a prior conviction, it can result in up to 7.5 years of prison. With two prior convictions on your record, you may end up going to prison for up to 15 years.
If you cause between $2,000 and $10,000 worth of damage, it’s a class 5 felony offense. If it’s your fist offense, you may get up to 2.5 years in prison. For a second offense, this escalates to up to 3.75 years of prison time. With two prior convictions on your record, you may go to prison for up to 7.5 years. For criminal damage between $1,000 and $2,000, it’s a class 6 felony offense, which comes with up to 2 years in prison for a first offense.
With a prior conviction on your record, you may go to prison for up to 2.75 years, and 5.75 years with two felonies on your record. Criminal damage amounting to between $250 and $2,000 is a class 1 misdemeanor crime with a sentence of up to 6 months in jail and probation. For criminal damage of less than $250, the offense is a class 2 misdemeanor crime. For such a conviction, you may spend up to 4 months in jail and owe a $750 fine plus a surcharge.
By working with a skilled criminal damage lawyer in Mesa, you may get your felony charge reduced to a misdemeanor. Having a criminal record can put a serious strain on your life, so it’s best to pursue lesser penalties.
Defenses for Criminal Damage in Mesa
If you decide to work with a criminal damage lawyer, there are a number of defenses they may use for your chase. They could assert that there was a lack of criminal behavior and that the charges were exaggerated or fabricated. Alternatively, you may have caused damage without criminal intent, meaning you accidentally damaged property. The police may have forgotten to read you your Miranda rights, which would count in favor of your case.
In some cases, your lawyer may be able to reduce the severity of your charges or even have them dropped altogether. The sooner you speak with a legal representative in Mesa, the quicker they can get to work and assist you with your case.
JacksonWhite Law in Mesa, Arizona
JacksonWhite Law has been serving clients in the Mesa area since 1983. We offer a full range of legal assistance and have plenty of experience navigating cases just like yours with great success. As one of the biggest firms in the East Valley, we work to provide advanced, insightful legal solutions to families, businesses, and individuals throughout the state of Arizona.
From fines, to probation and jail time, being in legal trouble is no laughing matter. It could harm your opportunities in life and even make it harder to find a place to live. Speak with one of our skilled lawyers today to get answers to your questions and to protect your future.
JacksonWhite Mesa Office
Our Mesa office is on the northwest corner of W. Pepper and N. Center Street. You may park on Pepper or in the parking garage nearby.
The Mesa city court is located on the northwest corner of Pomeroy Street and 1st Avenue. You’ll find a public parking garage behind the building, which you can access from Pomeroy or Main Street.
Call the JacksonWhite Criminal Law team at (480) 467-4370 to discuss your case today.