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What is criminal mischief?

There are many laws in Pennsylvania and some of them you might not have heard of before. However, if you are facing a charge for a crime like criminal mischief, it's important that you know what the possible penalties are as well as the elements of the crime.

Criminal mischief can be charges for many different acts. These include:

-- Using a paintball gun or marker to deface private, public or personal property.

-- Intentionally damages personal or real property that belongs to another person.

-- Using graffiti to intentionally damage or deface public or private property.

-- Using a threat or deception, either recklessly or intentionally, to cause someone to suffer a pecuniary loss.

-- Tampering, either recklessly or intentionally, with another person's property so that the person or property is endangered.

-- Using fire, explosives or other dangerous means, by recklessness, negligence or intention to damage another person's property.

Criminal mischief can be charged as a felony of the third degree or a misdemeanor of the second or third degree. The amount of loss determines what level the charge is. For example, if the loss is over $500 or if fire or explosives are used and the damages are over $150, the charge is a third-degree misdemeanor.

When facing a charges such as criminal mischief, it's important to fully understand the penalties. An attorney who is experienced in criminal defense can provide this information, as well as how to build a strong defense strategy against the charges. The sooner you start building your defense, the better and your attorney will make sure you know all your legal options.

Source: Pennsylvania General Assembly, "Title 18," accessed April 15, 2016

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