At first, it might seem like vandalism is a relatively innocent crime. You are not actually hurting anyone, and destroyed or damaged property can be replaced. In most cases, property owners even have insurance policies that can cover their losses. With these factors in mind, it might seem unthinkable that vandalism could potentially be classified as a felony in Mississippi. However, this can happen, and it is important to understand the potential legal consequences of “malicious mischief.”
If you have been charged with malicious mischief or any other crime in the state of Mississippi, it makes sense to consult with a qualified, experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Team up with a skilled lawyer, and you will have a much better chance of achieving a positive legal outcome. These experts can use a range of different strategies to help you mitigate or completely avoid the consequences of your actions.
What is Malicious Mischief?
According to Mississippi law, you are guilty of malicious mischief if you “maliciously or mischievously destroy, disfigure, or injure, or cause to be destroyed, disfigured, or injured, any property of another, either real or personal.”
Essentially, malicious mischief is simply another word for vandalism.
When Does Malicious Mischief Become a Felony?
The value of the property you have vandalized determines whether or not you will be charged with a felony. If you destroy, disfigure, or injure property with a value of $1,000 or less, you will only be charged with a misdemeanor. However, this is still a serious offense, and you may face a fine of up to $1,000 and a prison sentence of 12 months.
If your crime involves property that is worth more than $1,000, you will face a felony. You may spend up to five years in prison, and you could be fined up to $10,000.
If the property is worth $5,000 or more, the maximum prison sentence is increased to 10 years. If the property is worth $25,000 or more, the maximum prison sentence is increased once again to a maximum of 20 years. The same $10,000 fine applies in both of these cases.
Aside from paying fines and spending time in prison, you will also likely be ordered to pay for the replacement or repair of the property you have vandalized. This is known as “restitution,” and it will be officially mandated by the court. Finally, you can be charged with this crime even if you have simply encouraged someone else to commit an act of malicious mischief. You will not face any reduced penalty, either. The court will treat you as if you have personally committed the same act of vandalism that you have encouraged.
Enlist the Help of a Qualified Attorney as Soon as Possible
If you have been searching Mississippi for a criminal defense attorney who can help you with this matter, reach out to Vic Carmody Jr., P.A. as soon as possible. The sooner you enlist the help of a qualified, experienced attorney, the better chance you will have of achieving a favorable legal outcome. Facing a felony charge for vandalism becomes much less stressful with a skilled attorney by your side.