Se Habla Español 

NJ Criminal Mischief

Criminal Mischief Charges

Criminal Mischief - The Basics

Criminal mischief is a very common charge in New Jersey. Everyday examples include situations where you intentionally damage another person’s car because the other person stole your parking spot. You may have been waiting for 20 minutes for a parking spot when another driver comes out of nowhere & steals the spot. Another situation may involve a toxic relationship with your landlord. Money is tight & you’ve been late with the rent. Instead of working with you, your landlord files eviction proceedings. In a fit of rage, you damage the kitchen cabinets or spray paint the walls. Lastly, if you trespassed onto someone’s property & damaged their property in any way, you will also face criminal mischief charges.
 
If convicted of criminal mischief, in addition to the fines & penalties the court imposes, you may have to pay restitution for the damage you caused.

Criminal Mischief - Options

If you’ve been charged with criminal mischief, you have the following choices:

Plead Guilty

You will have to admit what you did under oath. This option will leave you with a criminal conviction. It will show up a background check.

Plead Guilty to a Downgraded Charge

This is one aspect of plea bargaining. Instead of admitting that you committed criminal mischief, we will work out a deal with the prosecutor where you plead guilty to a downgraded charge.

Go To Trial & Get Acquitted

This means that a judge or jury listened to all of the evidence & decided that you are not guilty of criminal mischief.

Go To Trial & Get Convicted

This means that the judge listened to all of the evidence & decided that you did commit criminal mischief.

Get Accepted Into Probation

Depending on your charges you may be eligible for either the Pretrial Intervention or Conditional Dismissal program.

Criminal Mischief - Legal Defenses

Legal defenses to criminal mischief charges will vary according to the facts of your case. This type of crime is fact-sensitive & much depends on the evidence against you.

Mistaken Identity Defense
This involves a situation where you did not commit criminal mischief at all. The police made a mistake and arrested the wrong person. You may have been near the scene of the crime but the police mixed you up with someone else.

Alibi – 
This is another situation where you did not commit criminal mischief because you were nowhere near the scene of the crime. We show the judge & prosecutor proof that you were somewhere else. 

Criminal Mischief - Under NJ Law 2C:17-3

A person is guilty of criminal mischief if he:
(1) Purposely or knowingly damages tangible property of another or damages tangible property of another recklessly or negligently in the employment of fire, explosives or other dangerous means listed in subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:17-2; or
(2) Purposely, knowingly or recklessly tampers with tangible property of another so as to endanger person or property, including the damaging or destroying of a rental premises by a tenant in retaliation for institution of eviction proceedings.
b. Grading. (1) Criminal mischief is a crime of the third degree if the actor purposely or knowingly causes pecuniary loss of $2,000.00 or more.
(2) Criminal mischief is a crime of the fourth degree if the actor causes pecuniary loss in excess of $500.00 but less than $2000.00. It is a disorderly persons offense if the actor causes pecuniary loss of $500.00 or less.
(3) Criminal mischief is a crime of the third degree if the actor damages, defaces, eradicates, alters, receives, releases or causes the loss of any research property used by the research facility, or otherwise causes physical disruption to the functioning of the research facility. The term “physical disruption” does not include any lawful activity that results from public, governmental, or research facility employee reaction to the disclosure of information about the research facility.
(4) Criminal mischief is a crime of the fourth degree if the actor damages, removes or impairs the operation of any device, including, but not limited to, a sign, signal, light or other equipment, which serves to regulate or ensure the safety of air traffic at any airport, landing field, landing strip, heliport, helistop or any other aviation facility; however, if the damage, removal or impediment of the device recklessly causes bodily injury or damage to property, the actor is guilty of a crime of the third degree, or if it recklessly causes a death, the actor is guilty of a crime of the second degree.
(5) Criminal mischief is a crime of the fourth degree if the actor interferes or tampers with any airport, landing field, landing strip, heliport, helistop or any other aviation facility; however if the interference or tampering with the airport, landing field, landing strip, heliport, helistop or other aviation facility recklessly causes bodily injury or damage to property, the actor is guilty of a crime of the third degree, or if it recklessly causes a death, the actor is guilty of a crime of the second degree.
(6) Criminal mischief is a crime of the third degree if the actor tampers with a grave, crypt, mausoleum or other site where human remains are stored or interred, with the purpose to desecrate, destroy or steal such human remains or any part thereof.
(7) Criminal mischief is a crime of the third degree if the actor purposely or knowingly causes a substantial interruption or impairment of public communication, transportation, supply of water, oil, gas or power, or other public service. Criminal mischief is a crime of the second degree if the substantial interruption or impairment recklessly causes death.
(8) Criminal mischief is a crime of the fourth degree if the actor purposely or knowingly breaks, digs up, obstructs or otherwise tampers with any pipes or mains for conducting gas, oil or water, or any works erected for supplying buildings with gas, oil or water, or any appurtenances or appendages therewith connected, or injures, cuts, breaks down, destroys or otherwise tampers with any electric light wires, poles or appurtenances, or any telephone, telecommunications, cable television or telegraph wires, lines, cable or appurtenances.
c. A person convicted of an offense of criminal mischief that involves an act of graffiti may, in addition to any other penalty imposed by the court, be required to pay to the owner of the damaged property monetary restitution in the amount of the pecuniary damage caused by the act of graffiti and to perform community service, which shall include removing the graffiti from the property, if appropriate. If community service is ordered, it shall be for either not less than 20 days or not less than the number of days necessary to remove the graffiti from the property.

If I'm convicted at trial, can I appeal?

Yes.

Although appeals can be expensive, it’s definitely worth the money to try.
If you feel that you didn’t get a fair trial or that certain evidence was irrelevant or missing, an appeal is a way to go.
I highly recommend that you hire an aggressive, criminal lawyer to represent you for your appeal.
There are specific steps that must be taken to (intelligently) file an appeal.
Please do not try to do this alone, get help!

Our Experience

You or a loved one have been arrested. Understandably, you are terrified & have a lot of questions. You’ve heard about plea bargains & probation, but the process is overwhelming. You want a local attorney near you to represent you.

Mr. Peyrouton is from Ridgewood & handles all types of criminal matters in New Jersey The New Jersey Law Journal recently published one of his articles on the subject of criminal law.

How We Can Help

Regardless of the criminal charges you are facing, we are here to defend & protect you. Whether you are facing a restraining order, drug charge, theft charge, or aggravated assault charge, we are here to help you. Even a DWI case can really complicate your life.

If we can’t get your charges dismissed, we can either get them downgraded or place you in a diversionary program. The point is, our criminal defense lawyers will fight tirelessly to get you the best result possible. Take advantage of our free consultation to see how we can help.

Our Practice Areas

Below, you will find a few of our practice areas.

Areas We Serve

Our Hackensack criminal lawyers represent clients in Bergen County & nearby counties & cities. 

Get Help With Your Case

How Do Your Free Consultations Work?

There are plenty of excellent Hackensack criminal lawyers in our area. Most, if not all of them, offer free, 20-minute, consultations. However, our free consultations do not have a time limit. You will never feel rushed.

The best way for us to help you is to patiently listen to your side of the story. Your version of events will serve as the basis for your legal defense. It is during these initial meetings that your memory of the event is fresh in your mind. Why we would rush you during such an important aspect of your case.

We understand that your choice of attorney could mean the difference between your freedom and spending years behind bars. 

When you hire an attorney, you are entering a long-term relationship. For this reason, it is important that you feel comfortable with the team of Hackensack criminal lawyers that will represent you.

What our clients say about us

Peyrouton Law
4.9
Based on 276 reviews
Alysa Melero
Alysa Melero
1718415245
Makes a great confidant argument,and is such a comfort to have on our side!
Haitian Bokor Leonard Elmera
Haitian Bokor Leonard Elmera
1718408623
This guy deserves 10 stars he works and is assertive. He is a heavy weight champ in the court room BEST LAWYER EVER he worked on my girlfriend’s case and got a her a victory. He is very meticulous and orderly in his defense. This guy is outstanding. 🥊 BEST LAWYER EVER !
MetalBabe87 Metal High Priestess
MetalBabe87 Metal High Priestess
1718401673
I hired Al, for a Domestic Violence Situation. In the court system. He was beyond helpful. Very open and receptive. Communication was absolute key with him. He kept me in the know every email every text message. Communication was on point!He was and is very passionate. Leads with integrity boldness and truth. I have never seen so much tenacity in person. He was beyond helpful - explaining situations in the court system that I should expect.I highly recommend him. I will recommend him to any of my clients as well. He is absolutely excellent and straightforward. Definitely pushes the envelope and applies the pressure as a true lawyer should.Once again, I will absolutely recommend him for any cases in the future. An absolutely recommend him to friends and family. I hope to work with him again under better circumstances.Thank you so much - for your patience, guidance and help. You have been absolutely wonderful to work with.
Yvette Bariffe
Yvette Bariffe
1718395085
Navigating the criminal justice system can be a daunting and intimidating experience. However, Peyrouton Law demonstrates an exceptional ability to guide clients through this complex world with the utmost professionalism. The firm embodies a comprehensive combination of knowledge, experience, tenacity, and effective representation. When my 22-year-old son, who resides in Chicago but works in New Jersey, inadvertently neglected to place his legally registered firearm in his checked luggage, he found himself facing arrest. As a mother residing in Chicago, I was overwhelmed with fear and uncertainty, being unfamiliar with New Jersey's criminal justice system. Upon reaching out to Peyrouton Law, they diligently represented my son throughout his legal challenge, alleviating my anxiety and providing much-needed reassurance. I wholeheartedly endorse and recommend this exceptional law firm.
Anji Gomez
Anji Gomez
1718143485
El mejor abogado que pude aver encontrado cada audiencia me sentí confiada porque sabía que todo iba salir bien no ablo inglés y también mejor abogado en abla español súper bueno de confianza y pudo quitarme los cargos de los cuales estaba acusada lo recomiendo
jessica janicek
jessica janicek
1718121038
Jesus Temple
Jesus Temple
1717651101
I am very pleased with the choice I made, when I choose Peyrouton Law Firm. Allan is such a great person and listens to you carefully and applied pressure to your case.
Adrian Williams
Adrian Williams
1717650815
Allan has the best criminal attorney in New Jersey, he's a man of his word. If you in need of a criminal attorney search no more, here's one right here Peyrouton Law Firm.......
Bruce Mandell
Bruce Mandell
1717650349
Best lawyer there is hands down💙❤️💙
God is love
God is love
1717519337
Alan is a great experience good attorney hard working man 👨 looking for a good criminal lawyer Alan is the boss ❤️
js_loader