Accused of vandalism or criminal mischief in McLennan County?
Seek advice from a Waco criminal defense attorney if you have been accused of criminal mischief in McLennan County. Vandalism, and destruction of property are considered “criminal mischief” which will be charged either a misdemeanor of a felony depending largely on the amount of damage to the property. Board certified attorney Thomas C. West routinely represents individuals charged with criminal mischief throughout the Waco area.
Waco Texas Vandalism Laws and Statutes
Vandalism can result in various charges under Texas laws. The following defines the offenses an individual can be charged with if they commit vandalism.
According to Tex. Penal Code Ann. § 28.04, Reckless Damage or Destruction occurs when an individual recklessly damages or destroys the property of the owner without the permission of the owner. This offense can result in a Class C misdemeanor. Criminal Mischief under Tex. Penal Code Ann. § 28.03 occurs when an individual intentionally or knowingly, without the consent of the owner, does any of the following:
• Damages or destroys the tangible property of the owner,
• Tampers with the tangible property of the owner and causes loss or substantial inconvenience to any person, and/or
• Makes markings, drawings, paintings, writings, inscriptions or slogans on the tangible property of the owner.
This offense is punishable as a Class C, B or A misdemeanor, or a state jail felony or felony of the third, second or first degree, depending on the amount of loss resulting from the damage.
An individual can be charged with committing Graffiti (Tex. Penal Code Ann. § 28.08) if they intentionally or knowingly draw, paint, spray paint, mark on, inscribe or write on the tangible property of an owner without their permission by using:
• Permanent marker, and/or
• An etching or engraving tool.
This offense is punishable as a Class A or B misdemeanor or state jail felony, felony of the third, second, or first degree, depending on the amount of damage to the property and where the graffiti was committed.
An individual could also be charged with an Arson offense if they intentionally or recklessly destroy property by using fire or an explosion under Tex. Penal Code § 28.02. This offense is punishable as a state jail felony, felony of the first degree, felony of the second degree, or a felony of the first degree, depending if death or injury resulted to any person as a result of the arson, and depending on where the arson occurred.
Penalties for Vandalism in Waco
The minimum statutory penalties, as defined in Chapter 12 of the Texas Penal Code, for vandalism offenses are listed below. However, these punishments can increase depending on whether the offender has previously been convicted of a felony, caused death or serious bodily injury while committing the offense and/or used a weapon while they committed or attempted to commit the offense.
• A person who is charged and convicted with a vandalism offense can result in a Class C misdemeanor. This offense can result in a fine up to $500.
• A class B misdemeanor can lead to a jail sentence up to 180 days and/or a fine not more than $2,000.
• Class A misdemeanors can result in a one-year jail sentence and/or a fine not exceeding $4,000.
• State jail felonies can result in a jail sentence ranging from 180 days to two years and/or a fine up to $10,000.
• A felony of the third degree can lead to two to ten years in prison and/or fines up to $10,000.
• Felonies of the second degree can result in two to 20 years in prison and/or a fine not exceeding $10,000.
• A felony of the first degree is punishable by a prison sentence ranging from five to 99 years or life imprisonment and/or a fine not more than $10,000.
If you have been accused of vandalism in McLennan County, you need to call an attorney experienced handling these charges. Defense attorney Thomas C. West is a former prosecutor who used to bring criminal mischief charges against Defendants. He is board-certified in Criminal Law, which is a distinction held by very few criminal defense attorneys. If you need an aggressive criminal defense lawyer in Waco, call Thomas West at 254-753-6437.