Criminal Mischief in Texas
Texas Penal Code 28.03 defines criminal mischief as the act of intentionally or knowingly damaging, destroying, vandalizing, or tampering with the tangible property of another person. When these acts cause monetary loss or inconvenience to the owner of the property, the defendant can face misdemeanor or felony charges in Texas.
In Texas, penalties for criminal mischief depend on the type and extent of damage caused by the defendant’s actions. Criminal mischief is a serious crime in Texas, which is why it is important to fight the charges to avoid penalties that include fines, jail or imprisonment.
Contact our Denton criminal defense attorney Brent D. Bowen to choose the best defense strategy if you were charged with criminal mischief.
When You can be Charged with Criminal Mischief in Texas
You may be charged with criminal mischief in Texas if there is factual evidence that you intentionally or knowingly:
- Damaged someone else’s property;
- Vandalized or tampered with someone else’s property, causing monetary damages or inconvenience; or
- Left marks, markings, inscriptions, or drew drawings of graffiti on someone else’s tangible property.
Types of Criminal Mischief in TX
Texas Penal Code recognizes several types of criminal mischief based on the type of damage caused by the defendant’s actions. Types of criminal mischief include:
- Causing damage to or destroying property, including private or public (e.g., breaking a window or defacing a wall);
- Damage to a motor vehicle (e.g., breaking car windows or scratching the car paint);
- Damage to a place of business (e.g., damaging a fixture that belongs to a business);
- Damage to a school, college, university, or another institution of higher learning (e.g., writing on desks, damaging lockers, defacing school property); and
- Damage to another person’s home (e.g., damaging fences, egging a house, putting toilet paper in trees or bushes, etc.).
You may also be charged with criminal mischief in Texas for damaging or destroying your own property. For example, if you destroy your automobile or any other personal property, you can face criminal mischief charges if another party has a partial ownership interest in that property.
Defenses to Criminal Mischief Charges in Texas
In some cases, the defendant can use the “mistaken identity” defense if they were falsely accused of criminal mischief. If you were falsely identified by witnesses or on surveillance footage, your criminal defense attorney in Texas would help you prove that you are not the person who committed the crime.
Your lawyer may be able to defend you against criminal mischief charges in Texas by questioning witness testimonies or demonstrating evidence that the person shown on surveillance footage or photographs is a different person.
Also, since the prosecution must prove that the defendant did not have the right to damage someone else’s property and that they intended to cause damage to the property, a criminal defense lawyer may be able to prove that you had no intent to destroy the property. Claiming that the police violated your rights when arresting you or gathering evidence could also help you avoid criminal charges.
Schedule a consultation with our criminal defense attorney in Texas, Brent D. Bowen, to discuss the best defense strategy in your criminal mischief case. Call at (940) 222-2488 or fill out this contact form.