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Criminal Mischief

Criminal mischief is defined by Iowa code as intentionally damaging, defacing, altering or destroying property without authority. Charges you may face depend on the cost of damage to said property.

Any time an individual damages someone else’s property without the owner’s permission, that’s criminal mischief. Criminal mischief can also be known as malicious mischief, vandalism and damage to property.

Common examples of criminal mischief include the following:

  • Egging cars/houses
  • Keying cars
  • Smashing mailboxes
  • Graffiti on personal property / government property  

Des Moines Criminal Mischief Lawyer

Charges of criminal mischief arise for several reasons– perhaps the circumstances surrounding your charges or accusation are a misunderstanding or accident.

A Des Moines criminal defense attorney from McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. will listen to each detail in your case and build the strongest defense possible on your behalf.

With more than four decades of legal experience between them, our criminal defense attorneys will use that experience to defend you against any property related charge, including criminal mischief, arson, receiving stolen property, and theft.

McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. serves individuals facing criminal charges throughout Iowa, including Des Moines, Polk City, Ankeny, Altoona, Johnston, Pleasant Hill, and surrounding areas.

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Iowa Criminal Mischief Charges

An individual may be charged with criminal mischief under Iowa Code 716.1 if the following conditions exist:

  • The individual intentionally damages, defaces, alters, or destroys property; and
  • The individual does not have the right to damage, deface, alter, or destroy said property.

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Criminal Mischief Penalties in Iowa

Depending on the particular facts and the extent of damage, criminal mischief may be considered a misdemeanor or felony.

Iowa law classifies criminal mischief into five degrees, including the following:

  • Criminal mischief in the first degree
  • Criminal mischief in the second degree
  • Criminal mischief in the third degree
  • Criminal mischief in the fourth degree
  • Criminal mischief in the fifth degree

Criminal mischief in the first degreeis the most severe of this type of charge and typically applies to incidents where the value of the damage exceeds more than $10,000, or the damage is intended to cause impairment to public property.

This offense is a Class C felony and carries a potential sentence of up to 10 years in prison and $10,000 in fines.

Criminal mischief in the second degree is the charged placed on you when the damage is valued at more than $1,000 but less than $10,000.

This is considered a Class D felony and brings a potential sentence of 5 years in prison and fines reaching $7,500.

Criminal Mischief in the third degree occurs when the following conditions exist:

  • The cost of replacing, repairing, or restoring the damaged property exceeds $500, but does not exceed $1,000;
  • The damaged property is a deed, will, commercial paper, or any instrument having legal effect;
  • The damaged property is a barricade, sign or light posted to keep individuals out of a hazardous area; or
  • The individual intentionally disinters or digs up human remains without lawful authority.

Criminal mischief in the third degree is considered an aggravated misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to 2 years in jail and a fine of no less than $625, but no more than $6,250.

Criminal Mischief in the fourth degree occurs when the cost of replacing, repairing or restoring the property exceeds $200 but is less than $500.

Criminal mischief in the fourth degree is considered a serious misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to 1 year in jail and a fine between $315 and $1, 875.

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McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C.| Polk County Criminal Mischief Attorneys

Criminal mischief charges may seem minor, especially when the conduct does not involve a significant amount of damage or if you have a clean record; however, a conviction can negatively impact the rest of your life. It is always in your best interest to speak with an experienced criminal attorney.

If you have been arrested or charged with criminal mischief in Iowa, I strongly suggest you contact McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C.. Someone who is convicted of criminal mischief in Iowa could potentially face time in jail, fines, probation or restitution.

Contact a Polk county criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to get started on building a strong case. With help from an attorney at McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. you may obtain the best possible outcome for your case.

We offer a free case evaluation. Contact us at (515) 279-9700 or submit an online form for a confidential consultation.

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