Criminal mischief in Ohio is a broad offense that covers a wide range of situations involving property damage. Criminal mischief is characterized by intentionally causing damage or destruction, without permission of the property owner. Regardless of whether you may have been angry, were seeking revenge, or just wanted to pull what you thought was a harmless prank – damaging another person’s property is a serious criminal act that is not treated lightly in court.
According to the Ohio Revised Code (ORC 2909.07), to be charged with the offense of criminal mischief, one of the follow circumstances must apply:
- Knowingly move, deface, damage, destroy or tamper with another individual’s property without their permission;
- Use tear gas, a stink bomb, a smoke generator or similar means that releases a harmful or offensive substance or causes public alarm, with the intention of preventing someone from using or enjoying their property;
- Knowingly move, deface, damage, destroy or tamper with a benchmark, triangulation station, boundary market, or other survey station, monument or marker without permission of the owner;
- Knowingly move, deface, damage, destroy or tamper with a safety mechanism, another individual’s property or your own property when it is supposed to be used for the safety of others, for the purpose of making it more unsafe;
- Set fire to another individual’s land or to something on their land, with the intention of interfering with the owner’s use and enjoyment;
- Hack into another individual’s computer system without their permission, release a virus or change their system with the intention of causing damage or disruption to its functioning.
If you are convicted of criminal mischief, the resulting penalties that you may face are dependent on the severity of the facts and circumstances of your case.
If you are charged with a first, second or third-degree misdemeanor for committing the act of criminal mischief, you will face at least 60 days or up to six months in jail, in addition to fines of at least $500 and up to a maximum of $1000.
If you are charged with a fourth-degree felony, you will face at least six to at maximum 18 months in prison, in addition to fines of up to $5,000. If you are charged with a third-degree felony, you will face at least one to at maximum five years in prison, in addition to fines of up to $10,000.
A criminal mischief conviction is a criminal offense in the state of Ohio and will undoubtedly have an impact on all areas of your life. As a result of a conviction, you may face difficulties keeping your job or finding a new one, education, housing circumstances, and whether or not your able to have custody of your children.