Connecticut Criminal Mischief – Laws & Penalties

Criminal mischief can be a serious felony or misdemeanor charge, and can result in jail time, and severe fines.

In addition, if you plead or are found guilty you will end up with a permanent criminal record on a public Connecticut offender database that can be found by anyone. Even if you made a dumb mistake and think you are guilty of the criminal mischief charge, it makes sense to evaluate your legal defense options to prevent a permanent scar on your record that could impact your future.

Please contact me to find out how we can fight the charges and prevent the most serious penalties. If you made a mistake, you deserve a second chance. Don’t just accept a punishment that may be much harsher than you deserve!

Call me today for a phone consultation on your charge.

What is Criminal Mischief?

Criminal mischief is a destruction of property crime, which could include any type of physical damage to another person’s property, or public property. It can range from keying a person’s car, graffiti, or much more serious destruction.

Under Connecticut’s criminal laws, the charge of Criminal Mischief is charged at different degrees based on the seriousness of the damage, and the target of the incident.

Common reasons behind a crime of criminal mischief are domestic disputes, road rage incidents, revenge attacks, and juvenile pranks.

If you are not guilty of the charge, then you absolutely need to fight these charges. But even if you believe you are guilty, lost your temper, and did something dumb, don’t just accept a harsh punishment without a negotiation that could save you from a serious criminal record.

Different Criminal Mischief Charges Under Connecticut Law

You care charged with 1st degree criminal mischief (a felony), if it involves

  • property damage in excess of $1500
  • damage to public utilities
  • monitoring equipment related to conditional discharge from the courts, such as a tracking device
  • damaging fire alarms, smoke alarms, or other public safety equipment

2nd degree criminal mischief is the criminal charge if:

  • tangible property damages above $250
  • with intent to cause damage to property

3rd degree criminal mischief is the criminal charge if you:

  • intentionally or recklessly cause damage to someone’s property, or government property
  • tampers with property that causes it to become endangered

4th degree criminal mischief is the criminal charge if:

  • intentionally or recklessly cause damage or tampers with a fire hydrant, smoke or fire detection equipment or other government property for fire alarm, fire suppressant, or police alarm purposes.

Connecticut Criminal Mischief – Penalties

Degree Penalty Classification
Criminal Mischief, first degree
  • From 1 to 5 years in prison
  • Fines up to $5,000
Class D Felony
Criminal Mischief, second degree
  • Up to 1 year in jail
  • Up to a $2000 Fine
Class A Misdemeanor
Criminal Mischief, third degree
  • Up to 6 months in jail
  • Up to a $1000 Fine
Class B Misdemeanor
Criminal Mischief, fourth degree
  • Up to 3 months in jail
  • Up to a $500 Fine
Class C Misdemeanor

How to Fight a Connecticut Criminal Mischief Charge

Strategies I many use to fight criminal mischief charges in Connecticut may include:

  • Challenging identification by a witness : Are they certain it was you? Could it be a mistaken identity?
  • Reduction of charges: Can we get this reduced down a level, or possibly dropped from a criminal charge to a civil trespassing charge?
  • Restitution: Will they drop the charges in exchange for payment of the cost of the damage, and court costs?

My defense strategy will depend completely on the facts of your case. But the goal is to keep your record clean.

These cases can be complicated, and how I would actually proceed really depends on the facts of your case. Call me for a case evaluation and consultation on your charges. I’ll reviewing the facts with you and let you know what I can do to help you.

Call me at (203) 418-8553.

References: CT Penal Law – Criminal Mischief : Sec. Sec. 53a-115.

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