Criminal Mischief in Florida:
Criminal mischief is a “general intent” crime, meaning that it only requires an act that is willful, intentional, and wrongful (with malicious intent and the knowledge that injury or damage will or may cause). To commit the crime of criminal mischief, a defendant does not have to specifically set out to cause damage to property. If the property is damaged as a result of an intentional and wrongful act carried out with the knowledge that damage may be caused to persons or property, this is sufficient to sustain a conviction. M.H. v. State, 963 So. 2d (Fla. 3d DCA 2006).
Florida Statute 806.13 defines criminal mischief as the willful and malicious causing of injury or damage, by any means, to any real or personal property belonging to another person. Under the statute and applicable case law, injury or damage to property can include acts of graffiti, vandalism, sabotage, defacement, breakage, and other destructive acts. To prove the crime of criminal mischief at trial, the prosecution must establish three elements beyond a reasonable doubt; 1) the defendant injured or damaged property, whether real or personal, 2) the property injured or damaged by the defendant belonged to the alleged victim, 3) the injury or damage was done willfully and maliciously.
In Florida, the penalties for criminal mischief will vary according to the damage caused to property during the course of the offense. Penalties will be based upon where the property damage is valued at $200 or less, then the person commits a second degree misdemeanor, punishable up to 60 days in jail, or, where the amount of damage to the property exceeds $1,000.00, then the offense will be a third degree felony, punishable by up to 5 years’ imprisonment.
There may be many defenses available if you have been charged with criminal mischief, please contact the Smith and Eulo Law firm for your free consultation, 407-930-8912.