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New York Criminal Mischief Frequently Asked Questions

Criminal mischief cases may have a seemingly simple name, but the category covers a wide range of unlawful activity. Criminal mischief charges are also akin to vandalism as well, and the terms are often interchangeable. However, vandalism is routinely charged as a misdemeanor level charge. Criminal mischief can be classified as a misdemeanor or felony, and even a misdemeanor conviction could still result in up to one year incarceration in New York, which can be a harsh penalty for a charge that can actually be leveled when there little damage. The more serious cases are regularly charged as felonies with real potential for significant prison sentences. The financial threshold for charges stemming from destroying someone’s property is set at a $250 minimum with damage totals in excess of $1500 being considered felony charges, which is also a relatively low threshold. Depending on case facts, a conviction could be devastating, and the outcome of a seemingly minor conviction could have major implications in the future.

Defending Criminal Mischief Charges

Any criminal charge that carries the potential for jail time in the United States automatically requires criminal defense representation for the defendant. Individuals who qualify will have a public defender attorney appointed for them. While this may seem like an inexpensive method of settling a case, the final result is often not a good outcome for the defendant because legal representation is not equal. Public defenders ultimately work for the same state that is prosecuting the case, which means their priorities could be compromised when a case could potentially be dismissed based certain material facts and borderline evidence. Even an attack by a police officer can be evidence in case when proper arrest protocol is not used. A private attorney has stronger incentive to build a solid case for the defendant by inspecting all articles of evidence for validity, which can often be what gets a criminal mischief case settled with minimal personal damage for the defendant.

Misdemeanors are Still Serious

The fact criminal mischief can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor does not mean it is not an important legal issue. Any arrest will generate a personal police record, even if there is enough reasonable doubt to warrant a dismissal or acquittal following a trial. Even when a conviction is averted, the arrest report or issuance of an indictment can harm personal character and impact future opportunities for employment and housing. Safety is a top priority in New York City for a variety of reasons, and prosecutors can still want harsh punishment when there is any perception of intent to cause personal harm. Every fact in the case can matter, even when the prosecution has reasonably strong evidence, and merely accepting sentencing without negotiation by an New York criminal defense attorney is never a good decision.

What a Private New York Criminal Mischief Attorney Can Do

The best advantage of having private legal counsel is the fact that they are officers of the court who can conduct investigations into all evidence presented in the charge. That can include officer and witness testimony in most cases, especially when there is no physical evidence being provided. In cases where physical evidence is present, it must still be connected to the defendant to avoid the reasonable doubt defense. Criminal mischief charges can also be prosecuted on borderline or circumstantial evidence as well that can be contested by an aggressive criminal defense lawyer who can conduct an independent evaluation of all claims from the prosecution. And when necessary, a private criminal defense attorney is much more willing to take a case to trial when there is a strong defense.

Never accept the notion hat criminal mischief charges cannot be successfully defended. Always retain an experienced and effective New York criminal defense lawyer like the professionals at Spodek Law Group who have a long track record of results for their clients.

by Leonard on Spodek Law Group
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