Malicious Mischief or Destruction of Property is defined as knowingly and maliciously causing physical damage to the property of another person. In Washington State, if you have a current or past domestic relationship with the property owner, Malicious Mischief Domestic Violence charges will be filed.
Charges resulting from property damage are surprisingly serious, given the nature of the accusations. When the police are called for a domestic disturbance, they are looking for signs or accusations of damaged property. Third Degree Malicious Mischief is a charge that is often added by police during an investigation for domestic assault.
If the domestic violence (DV) designation is added to the charge, there are enhanced penalties. The domestic violence designation can result in a No Contact Order being issued and a loss of gun rights.
Destruction of Property
In Seattle, the name of the charge is Destruction of Property. In Bellevue, Everett, Renton, Kent, and most other cities in King County and Snohomish County, the name of the charge is Malicious Mischief. The penalties are the same for both charges.
3rd Degree Malicious Mischief
If the damaged property is worth less than $750, Third Degree Malicious Mischief or Destruction of Property charges will be filed. Malicious Mischief 3 is a gross misdemeanor and is punishable by up to 364 days of jail and up to a $5000 fine. You may also be asked by the WA State court to replace the damaged property (pay restitution), take anger management classes, and be evaluated for alcohol or substance abuse by a treatment agency.
2nd Degree Malicious Mischief
If the property is worth between $750 and $5000, Second Degree Malicious Mischief or Destruction of Property charges will be filed. It can sometimes be argued that the damage to the property is less than $750, given the difficulty of putting a monetary value on used property. Malicious Mischief 2 is a class C felony and is punishable by up to 5 years in jail, loss of gun rights, and a fine of up to $10,000.
Defending Your Charges
There are often times questions that can be raised that will weaken the case against you. For example, it may be your property or you might have an ownership interest in the damaged item. We have also defended cases where the damaged property was accidentally broken during an argument or was broken before the alleged incident occurred.
If you have no criminal history, this can help your defense. Regardless of what happened, you deserve the best possible defense attorney representation. At Beckwith DV Law, we have a proven track record for getting Malicious Mischief (Destruction of Property) charges dismissed or significantly reduced.
We fight for clients accused of property crimes and domestic violence in the courts of Seattle, Bellevue, Everett, Renton, Kent, and throughout the Puget Sound. Call us today for a free consultation.