Charlotte Criminal Mischief Lawyer

Charlotte Criminal Mischief Lawyer

Criminal mischief, also known as vandalism or property damage, is the intentional act of destroying another’s property. Depending on the severity of the property damage, this crime can be classified as a misdemeanor or a felony. Those convicted of criminal mischief may be forced to pay a large fine and serve time in prison. Both can have a lasting impact over many years. If you are charged with criminal mischief, it is crucial that you hire a criminal lawyer who can defend you in court.

The Law Office of Kevin L. Barnett can assist you if you require a criminal mischief lawyer in Charlotte, NC. It is common for individuals to be overwhelmed when charged with a crime. Our team can help you navigate the complex legal system and protect your future. With over three decades of experience, we can fight for the best results possible.

How Is Criminal Mischief Defined?

If someone intentionally damages another party’s property without their consent, this is considered criminal mischief. It does not matter how severe the damage is, as the act of causing property damage itself is considered a crime. To be considered criminal mischief, you have to have damaged property willfully and maliciously, and the property must belong to the alleged victim. It is not a crime to damage your own property. However, there may be an ownership issue that can arise in certain cases.

It is important to note that criminal mischief only occurs intentionally. Accidental property damage does not result in this classification. However, if you were to act recklessly, this can still be considered criminal mischief. If you accidentally break a window due to your reckless behavior, you can be charged with criminal mischief. However, if you are playing a game outside and accidentally damage someone’s property, this is not considered a criminal act.

If you receive property crime charges in North Carolina, you risk facing strict penalties. You will want the help of a criminal law attorney to lessen your penalties and keep your future intact as best as possible.

Charlotte Criminal Mischief Lawyer

The Types of Criminal Mischief

There are many different types of acts that can be described as criminal mischief. Most examples are related to property damage. However, there are certain acts considered mischief that are not related to the destruction of property.

  • Arson: Of all the Charlotte property crimes that you can be charged with, arson may be the most severe. Arson is the act of intentionally setting fire to houses or other buildings. If a building catches fire due to an electrical malfunction or due to children playing with matches, this is not automatically considered arson. Those who are convicted of arson can face felony prosecution. Regardless of whether you are guilty or not, you will need a property crime lawyer by your side.
  • Breaking and Entering: Breaking and entering is unfortunately very common, and it is also a prime example of criminal mischief. This crime involves invading someone’s personal property, including their house or car, without the owner’s consent. In North Carolina, breaking and entering can be classified as either a felony or misdemeanor, depending on the damage and the intention behind the act. Breaking into another’s property results in damage, which is enough to be considered mischief.
  • Vehicle Damage: Acts such as keying vehicles or slashing tires are also considered criminal mischief. Cars are considered property. If someone were to damage another party’s car without consent, this is classified as mischief. This can still result in strict penalties. Depending on the severity of the damage, it can also be classified as a felony.
  • Graffiti: One of the most common forms of vandalism is the use of graffiti. Graffiti itself has been considered an art form by some. However, it is also considered vandalism if you apply it to a building without the owner’s consent. Removing graffiti is a costly procedure for business owners, and this can make certain buildings look poorly maintained. In North Carolina, graffiti is considered criminal mischief. If you are charged with vandalism, it is recommended that you hire a criminal lawyer.
  • Computer Hacking: This type of mischief is not a form of property damage. However, because this crime involves stealing or viewing information without consent, it is still considered mischief. If you attempt to hack another person’s computer to commit fraud or harm, you can receive severe penalties, such as fines and jailtime. Regardless of whether you were successful in hacking, this is criminal mischief that can negatively alter your future. A criminal defense lawyer can work with you to lessen your charges.
  • Air Horn Misuse: If someone attends a concert and constantly blows an air horn, this is not only disrespectful but can also be classified as criminal mischief. In this case, the intention is to disrupt the event, and you can be prosecuted for this. You may not have to go to jail for this crime, depending on the situation. Nevertheless, you can expect to be fined.

There are several other crimes that are considered criminal mischief, including discharging a firearm, altering or destroying road signs, or damaging security systems. The possible damage to people or property is the main factor a prosecutor will consider when classifying your crime. Whether you interrupted an event with an air horn or set a building on fire, you can expect to face penalties for your actions.

Penalties for Criminal Mischief

In most cases, mischief will be classified as a misdemeanor, as the damage is typically minor and causes little to no physical harm to others. However, in more severe cases, you can be charged with a felony for mischief.

If the damages from your crime are only a few hundred dollars or less, you will most likely be charged with a misdemeanor. There are four classes of misdemeanors in North Carolina, and each comes with varying penalties.

  1. Class 3: This is the least severe misdemeanor you can be charged with. For a Class 3 offense, you could serve up to a month in jail and be required to pay a small fine.
  2. Class 2: This is slightly stricter than a Class 3 offense. You may be forced to pay a fine of at least $1,000 and serve up to two months in jail.
  3. Class 1: This misdemeanor can result in up to four months in jail and a large fine. At this level, there is no maximum fine. The judge can order you to pay a fine of however much they say.
  4. Class A1: This is the highest level of misdemeanor you can receive. The penalties are the same as for a Class A, with the exception that jailtime can last up to 150 days.

If the damages exceed $1,000, this can be classified as a felony. As with misdemeanors, there are a certain number of felony classes that your crime can fall under. Very severe felonies, such as Class A, can result in life in prison. However, most criminal mischief cases are not classified this severely.

Class I is the most common felony charge that criminals can face. For this charge, there is a jailtime requirement of up to a full year. The next charge, Class H, can increase the time in jail to 25 months. Each class leading up to A adds more jailtime. The class is determined by prior convictions and the severity of the crime.

Misdemeanors and felonies can still negatively impact your future. You may lose access to various privileges as well as the ability to find a job or housing in the future. For this reason, it is crucial to have a criminal defense lawyer who can fight for your rights.

Criminal Mischief Defenses

It may seem like those arrested for property damage or vandalism have no defenses available. You may have been arrested for a vandalism crime you did not commit. As with other crimes, you have defenses available that can help lessen or even eliminate your penalties. In North Carolina, property crimes are not simple to evaluate. Criminal defense attorneys work diligently with their clients to gather as much evidence as possible to build a case.

For example, people may be prosecuted if video surveillance shows that they broke into a building. However, the quality of the video may be poor, or it may be considered unreliable evidence. This has led to innocent people being convicted of vandalism. Indeed, we have worked with many clients who have been unfairly treated.

When someone is convicted of a crime, even if it is classified as a misdemeanor, it can negatively damage their reputation. It can become difficult to find a job or housing due to a crime on your record. Fortunately, there are other defenses we can use to fight for your rights.

We can apply several defenses in court that can help reduce your penalties. For example, we can question if the damage was indeed intentional or if your conduct directly led to the property damage. We can also question if the damaged property truly belonged to the alleged victim. It is important that you tell your criminal lawyer the truth about the matter. If they notice anything conflicting or unclear, they may be able to build a case.

Why Hire a Criminal Mischief Lawyer?

A lawyer can work with you to build a case and defend you in court. However, many wonder if a lawyer is necessary and worth the price. At The Law Office of Kevin L. Barnett, we have worked with many clients who found our services invaluable. There are several reasons why you should consider hiring an attorney.

One key reason individuals hire a criminal mischief attorney is because they better understand the legal system. If you were to defend yourself in court, you may overlook certain details and defenses. This could result in stricter penalties. By hiring an attorney, they can carefully review your situation, gather all the evidence necessary, and use their knowledge and expertise to defend you. North Carolina’s legal system is complex. While there are certain aspects that are easy to understand, there are small details that can make a massive difference.

Most people who are convicted pass on hiring an attorney, believing the cost is not worth it. While hiring an attorney may seem like a big investment, it can actually save you money overall. If you defend yourself in court and end up receiving hefty fines, this can be very taxing on you and your future. A criminal defense attorney’s job is to work with you and lessen your charges as much as possible. In doing so, you may still receive penalties, but they may be much less severe than if you were to forego a lawyer. By having a lawyer on your side, you can have a better chance of recovering from your conviction and living a more positive future.

Lastly, an attorney can answer any questions or concerns you have. They can also give you advice on what to say and do. Attorneys are going to be truthful and describe what could happen to you without hesitation. However, it is better to know what your options are than to navigate a complicated system alone. It is not easy to lessen penalties in any case, but a qualified attorney can increase your risk of this happening.

Your Charlotte, NC, Criminal Mischief Lawyers

Many individuals wait until it is too late to hire a criminal mischief lawyer. Some people wonder if hiring legal counsel is worthwhile in their situation. If you are facing charges of vandalism or property damage, it is imperative that you seek legal representation immediately, regardless of the severity. If you live in or near Charlotte, North Carolina, our team can help.

With more than 35 years of experience, The Law Office of Kevin L. Barnett can help defend you in court and protect your future. From the moment you contact us, we can walk you through the legal process.

To learn more about how we can help you, contact us today to schedule a consultation.


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