A charge of criminal mischief in Utah most commonly involves the intentional damage to or destruction of property owned by another person. Vandalism often falls under Utah’s definition of criminal mischief.
Criminal Mischief – Utah Domestic Violence Attorneys
Scratched car paint, broken windows, and kicked-in doors are some of the more common damage involved in Utah criminal mischief cases. But accidental destruction of property damage is not sufficient to support a criminal mischief charge. The prosecuting attorney must prove that the property damage or destruction was done intentionally.
The level of a criminal mischief charge usually depends on the cost or value of the damage done to the property. This means that a Utah criminal mischief charge can range from a class B misdemeanor to a serious second-degree felony. However, even a class B misdemeanor charge is punishable by up to 180 days in jail. A second-degree felony could result in a prison term of up to 15 years.
The damage cost/value used to determine the level of charge for criminal mischief is often the cost of the actual damage done, not the defendant’s intended damage. For instance, what may have been intended as a harmless prank can result in serious felony charges.
Under some circumstances, criminal mischief may also be considered a domestic violence (DV) offense. The addition of a “DV” tag to a criminal mischief charge does not change the level of the charge or increase the maximum penalties, however, prosecuting attorneys often take DV cases more seriously than other charges.