Criminal Mischief Defense
If you’ve just been arrested for criminal mischief, you probably have a thousand questions racing through your mind. What can I do now? What is the process? Will I go back to jail?
You need experienced Austin criminal mischief attorneys who understand the Travis County court system inside and out. We zealously represent your rights throughout this process and answer all the questions you have along the way.
Our team has a combined 30+ years of experience helping people charged with criminal mischief in Austin. We will tell you what to expect and how to improve the chances of getting the best result. Having experienced attorneys can make the difference between getting your case dismissed or being convicted.
What is Criminal Mischief in Texas?
Criminal mischief in Texas refers to the intentional or knowing damage or destruction of another person's property without their consent. It can also involve tampering with someone's property in a way that causes loss, inconvenience, or expense to the owner.
The Texas Penal Code outlines criminal mischief under §28.03. According to the code, a person commits an offense if, without the effective consent of the owner:
He intentionally or knowingly damages or destroys the tangible property of the owner;
He intentionally or knowingly tampers with the tangible property of the owner and causes pecuniary loss or substantial inconvenience to the owner or a third person; or
He intentionally or knowingly makes markings, including inscriptions, slogans, drawings, or paintings, on the tangible property of the owner.
What are the penalties for Criminal Mischief in Texas?
The penalties for criminal mischief vary depending on the amount of financial damage:
If the damage is less than $100, it's generally considered a Class C misdemeanor.
If the damage is $100 or more but less than $750, it's a Class B misdemeanor.
If the damage is $750 or more but less than $2,500, it's a Class A misdemeanor.
If the damage is $2,500 or more but less than $30,000, it's a state jail felony.
If the damage is $30,000 or more but less than $150,000, it's a third-degree felony.
If the damage is $150,000 or more but less than $300,000, it's a second-degree felony.
If the damage is $300,000 or more, it's a first-degree felony.
There are other considerations and exceptions within the law for criminal mischief, including enhanced penalties if the offense causes impairment or interruption of public services like water or power or if it's committed against certain facilities like schools, places of worship, or human burial sites.
WHEN SHOULD I HIRE AN ATTORNEY?
Immediately. An attorney should be working on your case right away. We want to talk to witnesses as soon as possible and protect any evidence that will help the case. Hiring an attorney is also a good way to alleviate the stress and anxiety that comes with being arrested.
CAN A CRIMINAL MISCHIEF CHARGE BE DISMISSED?
Yes, but it depends on the circumstances of the arrest and what you are willing to do while the case is pending. We have negotiated hundreds of dismissals in Travis County using our knowledge and experience of what works in Austin. In order to help us get the best result, we will create a customized Action Plan for you.
ONE OF MY FRIENDS/FAMILY WAS ARRESTED FOR THEFT. WILL THEY GET OUT OF JAIL AUTOMATICALLY?
No. They must qualify for a personal bond. And even if they do qualify, it can take 24 hours or more to be released. We can speed up the process significantly. And trust us, everyone wants out of jail as soon as possible. HERE IS MORE INFO ON JAIL RELEASES.