Grading and Penalties of Pennsylvania Criminal Mischief, 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 3304
The severity of Pennsylvania criminal mischief charges is primarily based upon the monetary loss to the damaged property.
- If the value of the loss exceeds $5,000 or if the damage causes a “substantial interruption or impairment of public communication,” the offense is graded as a felony of the third degree. A felony of the third degree has a maximum sentence of seven years’ incarceration and a $15,000 fine.
- If the defendant intentionally causes over $1,000 worth of damage, the charge is graded as a misdemeanor of the second degree. A second-degree misdemeanor has a maximum sentence of two years’ incarceration and a $5,000 fine.
- If the defendant intentionally or recklessly causes a loss in excess of $500, then the charge is graded as a misdemeanor of the third degree.
- If the loss was over $150 and was a result of intentionally defacing public property with graffiti, then the offense is also graded as a misdemeanor of the third degree. A third-degree misdemeanor has a maximum sentence of one year incarceration and a $2,500 fine.
If the criminal mischief charge does not fall within the above-referenced offense grades, then the charge is a summary offense. A summary nontraffic offense generally has a maximum sentence of 90 days incarceration and a $300 fine.
Convictions, Sentences, and Collateral Consequences
A person convicted of criminal mischief faces a sentence that could include probation or jail time, payment of fines, costs, and restitution. A conviction of a criminal offense also has collateral consequences, such as a more difficult time finding employment; possible issues with licensing for professionals like doctors, engineers, nurses, and lawyers; and removal from schools such as Penn State.
A person charged with criminal mischief should have an experienced criminal defense attorney review the case, discuss possible defense strategies, and review possible collateral consequences of the criminal conviction.
You Can Fight The Criminal and Collateral Consequences. Call To Learn More
If you have been charged with criminal mischief, you should speak with a lawyer immediately about your options to mitigate the situation. Call JD Law at (814) 954-7622 or email us to schedule a free consultation with a lawyer.