The way people see and treat inanimate objects is incredibly sentimental; for example, every person’s room is unique to their style and preferences. People’s identification with their items is precisely why property destruction is such a severe crime across the states. In California, property destruction charges vary based on the circumstances, intent, and the price of the property destroyed. Therefore, it’s crucial to identify the possible charges you could face if you deface or break someone’s things.
Destruction of Property Laws in California
Under California Penal Code 594, when a person vandalizes, defaces, destroys, or damages property with malicious intent, they will likely be charged with malicious mischief. If the amount of the damage is $400 or more, vandalism is punishable by up to one year in county jail and a fine of up to $10,000.
The possible penalties of malicious mischief include:
- Less than $400 of damage: imprisonment of up to one year or a fine of up to $1,000;
- More than $400 but less than $10,000: imprisonment in the county jail of up to one year or a fine of up to $10,000;
- More than $10,000: imprisonment of up to one year or a fine of up to $50,000.
Destruction of Government Property
When people deface, destroy, or damage government property, they will likely be charged with destruction of government property.
The possible penalties for destruction of government property are more severe than malicious mischief penalties:
- Less than $100 of damage: one-year imprisonment, a fine of up to $100,000, or both;
- More than $100 of damage: ten years imprisonment, a fine of up to $250,000, or both.
In addition to the charges mentioned above, the following circumstances can change or impact the charges:
- Type of property (religious institution, hospital, etc. ;)
- Owner of property (family member, stranger, law enforcement, etc. ;)
- Price of property destroyed;
- Intent (accidental, malicious, hate crime, etc.)
As you can see, property destruction charges are not straightforward. If you or a loved one is charged with property destruction, it’s critical you hire experienced California property destruction defense.
Call (909) 328-6101 now for a free consultation for your property destruction case!