Lynnwood Malicious Mischief Domestic Violence Attorney
WHAT IS MALICIOUS MISCHIEF?
A malicious mischief crime in Washington involves destruction of or damage to property. It can be classified as a domestic violence case when the damage is done to a family or household member's property, or property that is jointly owned by a husband and wife. During a domestic dispute, it is not unusual to, in the heat of anger, slam a door, hit a wall, or throw something.
Malicious Mischief (also known as Property Destruction in some courts) is defined as knowingly and maliciously damaging the property of another. A typical Malicious Mischief charge involves breaking the property of a loved one or a business. Breaking a bar window, damaging a partner's cell phone, or any other form of intentional property damage will result in a charge of Malicious Mischief.
Malicious Mischief and Domestic Violence
Often, one action may cause something else to unintentionally break. A charge of malicious mischief domestic violence generally accompanies a domestic violence assault charge. In order to make a conviction, a prosecutor must be able to prove that the damage done was deliberate and not accidental; the accused must have "knowingly or maliciously" caused damage to another's property.
One unique aspect of malicious mischief is determining whether the property actually was the "property of another" as required by statute. It is not illegal to damage your own property. In a marriage, there is a fine line between your property and your spouse's property. In a non-married situation there are even more opportunities to challenge who owned the property in question. We have had many cases dismissed for our clients on this very issue.
Similarly, it can also be difficult for the prosecutor to prove who actually caused the damage. Often times the only evidence the prosecutor has is the claim of the person who called the police. Who can say who actually damaged the property or when the damage occurred? Usually there are no independent witnesses and the police almost never go to the trouble of fingerprints in these types of cases.
How Severe is a Malicious Mischief Charge?
The severity of a malicious mischief charge varies depending on the value of the property damaged. If convicted of malicious mischief the prosecutor will usually ask to put you in jail and also demand a fine and that you pay restitution to the victim of up to double the value of the property damaged. If you have any history of domestic violence you can also count on the prosecutor asking that you do domestic violence or anger management classes. For this reason it is imperative to do everything you can to avoid being convicted of a malicious mischief charge.
What are the Levels of Malicious Mischief Charges?
There are three levels of malicious mischief charges in Washington state based upon the amount of property damage allegedly caused by the defendant:
Less than $750 of Property Damage
If the value of the property damaged is less than $750 the charge will be Malicious Mischief in the Third Degree. This is a gross misdemeanor and carries a maximum penalty of a $5000 fine and one year in jail.
Between $750 and $5000 of Property Damage
If the value of the property damaged is between $750 and $5000 the charge will be Malicious Mischief in the Second Degree. This is a Class C Felony and carries a maximum penalty of a $10,000 fine and 5 years in jail.
More than $5000 of Property Damage
If the value of the property damaged is more than $5000 the charge will be Malicious Mischief in the First Degree. This is a Class B Felony and carries a maximum penalty of $20,000 and 10 years in jail.
Why Call Malicious Mischief Domestic Violence Defense Attorney Lance Fryrear?
While many attorneys refuse to handle domestic violence cases, we focus intensely on defending domestic violence in our practice every day. We know the special challenges the prosecutor faces in trying to convict you of domestic violence malicious mischief.
As you can see from our client reviews, we will do everything in our power to help you through this difficult event, both in court and emotionally as well. While we cannot change the fact that you were charged with domestic violence malicious mischief, we give you the best chance at keeping the matter of your record and getting your life back to normal as quickly as possible. Give us a call now and we will be there for you.
Call our malicious mischief domestic violence lawyers at (425) 224-7075 to find out how we can help you fight your Malicious Mischief charges.
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