Charged with Criminal Mischief in Fort Worth / Tarrant County?
If you have been arrested or have received a phone call from a Tarrant County detective informing you that you are under criminal investigation for the crime of criminal mischief, you need to immediately do the following: contact an experienced criminal attorney to advise you of your options and research what Texas criminal law says about criminal mischief.
For a thorough understanding of what your facing under Texas law, you must first consult the Texas Penal Code. According to Texas Penal Code, Title 7: Offenses Against Property, Chapter 28, Section 28.03, the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office will be required to prove the following elements of criminal mischief beyond a reasonable doubt: A person commits an offense if, without the effective consent of the owner:
- He intentionally or knowingly damages or destroys the tangible property of the owner;
- He intentionally or knowingly tampers with the tangible property of the owner and causes pecuniary loss or substantial inconvenience to the owner or a third person; or
- He intentionally or knowingly makes markings, including inscriptions, slogans, drawings, or paintings, on the tangible property of the owner.
Determining whether your Tarrant County criminal mischief charge is a felony or misdemeanor will be based upon the alleged monetary damage sustained as a result of the incident. Similar to theft, the Texas Penal Code breaks down criminal mischief as follows:
An offense under this section is:
- A Class C misdemeanor if the amount of pecuniary loss is less than $50;
- A Class B misdemeanor if the amount of pecuniary loss is $50 or more but less than $500;
- A Class A misdemeanor if: the amount of pecuniary loss is $500 or more but less than $1,500; or the actor causes in whole or in part impairment or interruption of any public water supply, or causes to be diverted in whole, in part, or in any manner, including installation or removal of any device for any such purpose, any public water supply, regardless of the amount of the pecuniary loss;
- A state jail felony if the amount of pecuniary loss is: $1,500 or more but less than $20,000; less than $1,500, if the property damaged or destroyed is a habitation and if the damage or destruction is caused by a firearm or explosive weapon; less than $1,500, if the property was a fence used for the production or containment of: cattle, bison, horses, sheep, swine, goats, exotic livestock, or exotic poultry; or game animals as that term is defined by Section 63.001, Parks and Wildlife Code; or less than $20,000 and the actor causes wholly or partly impairment or interruption of public communications, public transportation, public gas or power supply, or other public service, or causes to be diverted wholly, partly, or in any manner, including installation or removal of any device for any such purpose, any public communications or public gas or power supply;
- a felony of the third degree if the amount of the pecuniary loss is $20,000 or more but less than $100,000;
- a felony of the second degree if the amount of pecuniary loss is $100,000 or more but less than $200,000; or
- a felony of the first degree if the amount of pecuniary loss is $200,000 or more.
As you can see, facing a criminal mischief charge can create criminal consequences ranging from merely a fine up to life in prison. If you are facing a criminal mischief charge in Tarrant County, it is extremely important to seek counsel from an experienced Fort Worth criminal lawyer. At The Hampton Law Firm, my years of experience as a former Tarrant County Prosecutor and experienced criminal defense attorney will give you the edge you need to keep you out of jail and to keep this charge off your criminal record.
Never underestimate the value of a good criminal defense attorney. There are numerous criminal defenses to the charge of criminal mischief. For example, the Tarrant County prosecutors will be required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the element of value. Many people assume that a damaged item is worth what the alleged victim says it is worth. However, under Texas Penal Code, Chapter 28, Section 28.06, the amount of pecuniary loss is determined by the fair market value of the property at the time and place of the destruction; or if the fair market value of the property cannot be ascertained, the cost of replacing the property within a reasonable time after the destruction. It is quite common that a damaged item can be determined to be worth much less than the victim claims, thereby creating a valid criminal defense that can minimize the criminal consequences my client may be facing.
If you are facing a criminal mischief charge, call The Hampton Law Firm now so we can discuss the facts of your case and explain how we can best help you put this criminal charge behind you. Contact Jeff Hampton at the Hampton Law Firm at 817-877-5200.
Contact the Hampton Law Firm now to schedule a free consultation to determine your rights and legal options.