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Middlesex County Criminal Defense Lawyer

  • Over 200 Years of Combined Experience
  • Former Director in Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office
  • Certified Criminal Trial Attorneys
  • Former Municipal Prosecutor in Edison, Woodbridge, New Brunswick, Piscataway & Other Local Towns
  • 10 Attorneys Practicing Exclusively in DUI & Criminal Defense

Criminal Mischief

Piscataway NJ Criminal Mischief Attorney

An individual can be charged with criminal mischief based on a wide range of conduct set forth under N.J.S.A. 2C:17-3. A complete list of the scenarios in which this offense may be issued is set forth in the New Jersey Criminal Mischief Law. A key ingredient irrespective of the variety of this violation is causing damage or tampering with property of another person. If you were charged with criminal mischief in Piscataway, New Brunswick, Woodbridge, Metuchen or South Plainfield, it is important that you know what you are up against. While your conduct may have been minor in your view, the unfortunate reality is that criminal mischief can result in serious penalties if you lose your case. You will have a criminal record, face thousands in fines, and can even be sent to jail. The good news is that our former prosecutors and skilled lawyers are able to avert a conviction on this charge in many instances. An attorney with years of experience defending criminal mischief and other charges is ready to assist you in our Piscataway Office. Call us anytime 24/7 for a free consultation at 732-562-0308.

Criminal Mischief Charge in New Brunswick NJ

The largest number of criminal mischief charges are handled in New Brunswick since this is where the Middlesex County Superior Court is located where all crimes of the fourth degree, third degree and second degree are handled. Every 2C:17-3 case that is indictable (i.e. second, third and fourth degree) must be adjudicate at the county courthouse. Almost every municipal court in the county also deals, however, with this offense since the local court system deals with disorderly persons charges. The following is a summary how this offense arises, how it is graded, and the penalties that apply if you are convicted.

Elements of Offense. In order to convict a defendant of criminal mischief, the prosecutor must prove that: (1) the defendant damaged tangible property; (2) the property was owned by another person; and (3) the defendant acted purposely or knowingly when he or she damaged the property. When the violation is based on tampering with property, the requirements to establish guilt are different. The state is required to establish, beyond reasonable doubt, that the defendant: (1) tampered with tangible property; (2) that belonged to another person or entity; (3) purposely, knowingly or recklessly; and (4) endangered a person or the property by virtue of his or her conduct.

Grading of Criminal Mischief. This offense is a third degree crime if the property damage of loss is $2,000 or more. It is a fourth degree crime if the pecuniary loss exceeds $500 but is less than $2,000. If the damage is less than $500 then the violation is a disorderly persons offense. There are, however, special rules for grading when the conduct of the accused involves research property and facilities, air traffic or aviation safety devices or facilities, graves and human remains or utility services.

Penalties for Criminal Mischief. If you are convicted of a disorderly persons offense for criminal mischief, the least severe variety of this charge, you face up to six months in the county jail and a fine that can reach $1,000. The permissible prison term escalates to 18 months for a fourth degree, 5 years for third degree, and 10 years for a second degree. The maximum fine is $10,000, $15,000 and $150,000 respectively.

Graffiti. The criminal mischief statute incorporates provisions to apply specifically to graffiti. A defendant is required to pay restitution for the cost to repair property tainted by graffiti. There is also a provision for community service of at least 20 days or that period that is necessary to remove the damage.

Old Bridge NJ Criminal Mischief Lawyer

Where your Old Bridge criminal mischief charge falls in terms of grading and penalties hinges on the underlying facts that can be proven by the prosecutor, including the extent of the damage. A lawyer at our firm can help you mitigate these facts to reduce the severity of the charge, if not avoid a finding of guilt altogether. When you call our East Brunswick Office, one of the attorneys will undertake a comprehensive review of your case and formulate a defense strategy that raises reasonable doubt concern some or all of the allegations against you. Whether the charge arose in Old Bridge, Helmetta, South River, East Brunswick or Edison, we have the qualifications to obtain a favorable result. Call us at 732-227-1200 for immediate assistance.