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Were you recently arrested for vandalism? It may have been a simple prank, such as spray painting graffiti on the wall of your old school or the side of a subway car.
However, this is classified as a criminal act and it does carry penalties. You will need to hire a skilled and experienced Philadelphia vandalism attorney to help keep these penalties to a minimum.
The first thing you need to know is how your crime is going to be classified. If you are charged with intentionally defacing, damaging, or destroying someone else’s property, this is classified as criminal mischief.
However, if you are charged with defacing, damaging, or destroying property associated with a place of worship, school, or state or Federal building or courthouse, this will be classified as institutional vandalism.
The various penalties that can be assessed by a judge for the punishment of criminal mischief will depend largely on the total amount of damage that has been done to the property.
If you are still a minor, your lawyer will try to get the case removed to juvenile court. If this court should find you guilty of criminal mischief as a minor, the penalties can include fines, probation, restitution, and placement in juvenile detention for a period that the court finds sufficient.
If you are tried as an adult on criminal mischief charges and found guilty, the penalties will be different and substantially higher. These can include the following:
If the damage to the property is less than $150, you could be convicted of a summary offense. This could entail a fine of $300 fine and a sentence of up to 90 days in jail.
If the damage to the property is between $150 and $1,000, you could be convicted of a misdemeanor of the third degree. This could carry a penalty of up to one year in prison.
If the damage to the property should cost between $1,000 and $5,000, you could be convicted of a misdemeanor of the second degree. This could carry a penalty of up to two years in prison.
If repair work to the property you have damaged should cost more than $5,000 to repair, you could be guilty of a felony of the third degree. You could be sentenced to up to seven years in prison.
If your actions resulted in damage to a property that will cost more than $5,000 to repair, you could be convicted of institutional vandalism. This is classified as a felony of the third degree. This is punishable by fines of up to $15,000 as well as a sentence of up to seven years in prison.
If the total value of the damage you caused to the property is less than $5,000, you may be convicted of a misdemeanor of the second degree. You could face a fine of $5,000 as well as one or two years in prison.
If you or your child has been charged with vandalism in the city of Philadelphia, you need to hire an experienced attorney right away. Your lawyer will do all in their power to get these charges dismissed or, at the very least, significantly reduced.
For example, your lawyer can gather up evidence from eyewitnesses to prove that you acted without any criminal intent. This may significantly lessen the charges against you as well as the penalties that you may end up facing.
We will do everything we can to discredit evidence that looks bad. We will work hard to prove to the court that you are not a criminal. Get in touch with us today to learn more about what an expert Philadelphia vandalism defense attorney can do to help you.