Felony Charges Based on the Kind of Property Involved
These crime of malicious destruction of property can be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the value or kind of the property at issue. If the property involved was worth more than $250, or was a motor vehicle, the offense is a felony.
Malicious damage to a motor vehicle, and vandalism, are felonies and include a period of drivers license suspension by the registry of motor vehicles. As a general rule, you should plan on fighting any felony charge.
Malicious Destruction of Property
The charge of malicious damage is usually the result of a momentary lapse in judgment, or a heated exchange, but can carry very severe consequences. In such cases the Commonwealth is particularly focused on the wishes of the alleged victim, as are the courts. Even in cases where the proof is overwhelming, there are ways to minimize the impact of these charges.
A conviction can also carry the possibility of a fine in the amount of three times the value of the property, in addition to restitution to the alleged victim. In cases where the proof is lacking, the substantial penalties for allegations that the value of the property exceeded $250 mean these charges should be taken very seriously.
If you or someone you know has been charged with malicious destruction or vandalism, contact me today to set up a free and confidential consultation.
The charge of vandalizing property, which is closely related to the charge of malicious destruciton of property, is more fully discussed in the section devoted to vandalizing property.