malicious mischief

Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee
Course: Criminal Law

Malicious mischief, also known as malicious destruction of property, is a criminal offense that involves intentionally damaging or destroying another person’s property without their consent.

Under criminal law, the term “malice” refers to a deliberate and intentional act done with an evil or unlawful purpose. In the context of malicious mischief, the malice requirement means that the defendant must have acted with the intent to cause harm or damage to the property in question.

The offense of malicious mischief can encompass a wide range of destructive behaviors, such as graffiti, vandalism, arson, or breaking windows. The severity of the offense and the potential penalties will depend on the value of the property damaged or destroyed, as well as the specific circumstances of the crime.

In many jurisdictions, malicious mischief is considered a misdemeanor offense, punishable by fines, community service, and/or short-term imprisonment. However, if the value of the damaged property exceeds a certain threshold or if the offense was committed with aggravating factors, such as using explosives or causing injury to a person, the offense can be elevated to a felony and carry much harsher penalties.

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Last Modified: 03/09/2023


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