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Criminal Mischief and Vandalism

Posted by Carmine R. Villani | May 25, 2015 | 0 Comments

Social Media Takes Down NJ Mayor's Son with an Arrest for Criminal Mischief and Vandalism

Criminal mischief generally includes what is commonly known as vandalism, dealing mainly with crimes committed against property such as defacing someone's building with graffiti or breaking the windows of a business. Just recently in Barnegat, New Jersey in Ocean County, investigations were underway to find the graffiti vandal who spray painted local buildings and vehicles. Kyle Conway, 18-year old son of Mayor Susan McCabe was charged with 8 counts of criminal mischief for “tagging” vehicles, overpasses and buildings in a two-week vandalism spree.

Beyond A Reasonable Doubt

Criminal Mischief and Vandalism

In order to land a conviction for criminal mischief in New Jersey, the prosecutor must establish beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant damaged tangible property, that the damaged property belonged to another person and that the defendant had acted purposely or knowingly when the property was damaged. Kyle was one of two accused of vandalism after they used social medial to brag about their graffiti vandalism throughout the Jersey Shore. They posted photos and videos of their acts online on YouTube and Instagram. In our recent post, “Bragging About Your Crime On Social Media – Not A Good Idea” we revealed that leveraging social media is just one of the many ways law enforcement official have been collecting evidence to help them solve these crimes.

Criminal Mischief (N.J.S.A. 2C:17-3)

A person is charged with criminal mischief when there is damage or loss that occurs to someone else's property as a result of the defendant's purposeful or knowing behavior. The amount of damages incurred as well as other circumstances surrounding those losses will determine the penalty if found guilty. The type of penalty when found guilty of criminal mischief in New Jersey depends on the amount of loss incurred to the tangible property.

Criminal Mischief as a Disorderly Persons Offense

For damages valued less than $500, the defendant would be charged only with a disorderly person offense if found guilty. This can carry a penalty of up to six months in county jail and other fines and penalties.

Criminal Mischief Involving Graffiti

If the act of criminal mischief involves graffiti, restitution may be ordered to compensate the property owner for damages in the amount of damage incurred to the property. Community service no less than 20 days may be ordered, which would include the removal of such graffiti from the property.

Fourth Degree Criminal Mischief

If the defendant is found guilty of criminal mischief and damages resulted in losses between $500 and $2000, or if there is any damage or removal or impairment of air traffic devices or tampering of any kind with any airport, landing field, or aviation facility, then the potential prison sentence may be up to 18 months and would be considered a fourth degree crime.

Third Degree Criminal Mischief

If the defendant is found guilty and damages result in losses of $2000 or more, or if the act causes substantial interruption of a public utility or communication system, or if damage involved the loss of property used at research facilities or disruption to the facility, or if there was tampering of any kind with a grave, crypt, or mausoleum with the intent of destroying or removing anything therein – including human remains – the potential sentence would be up to 3 to 5 years in a state penitentiary and would be considered a third degree criminal offense.

Defending Criminal Mischief Charges In Ocean County, NJ

If you've been charged with criminal mischief or another crime in New Jersey, the Villani & DeLuca criminal defense attorneys can explain your legal options and represent you in court. We can help you learn more about criminal charges, criminal court procedure and your constitutional rights. Give us a call today at 732-709-7757 for your complimentary initial consultation.

About the Author

Carmine R. Villani

Founding partner, Carmine Villani, Esq. is a former municipal prosecutor with over three decades of experience in Criminal and DWI Defense.


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