Most property damage crimes in Washington are felony level charges, with a serious potential for significant jail time. Though property crimes are considered less serious than personal crimes or crimes against people, you are facing severe consequences if convicted of charges like vandalism, malicious mischief, reckless burning, or arson.Charged with a crime in Washington? Call now. (888) 246-5778.
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Washington Malicious Mischief – Laws & Penalties
Malicious Mischief in the First Degree
Malicious mischief in the 1st degree can be proven by showing that you knowingly and maliciously did one of the following:
- Caused physical damage to someone else’s property in an amount exceeding $1,500
- Caused and interruption of service to the public by tampering with an emergency vehicle or property of the state, or public utilities, transportation, power, or communication
- Caused an impairment of the safety, operations, or efficiency of an aircraft by tampering with the aircraft or equipment
First degree malicious mischief is a Class B felony and is a seriousness level II which means that if you have no criminal record you may be sentenced to 2-6 months in prison.
Malicious Mischief in the Second Degree
If you are charged with this offense the prosecution will have to prove that you knowingly and maliciously cause physical damage or someone else’s property in an amount exceeding $250 or create a risk of interruption of public services through tampering or damaging.
Second degree malicious mischief is a Class C felony and is punishable by up to 60 days in prison if you have no prior convictions on your record. If you do have a criminal record, this sentence could reach 18 months in prison.
Malicious Mischief in the Third Degree
Malicious mischief in the 3rd degree involves knowingly and maliciously causing physical damage to someone else’s property where the damage is less than $250 or it doesn’t otherwise equal 2nd or 1st degree malicious mischief.
In most cases, where the damage exceeds $50, malicious mischief in the 3rd degree is a gross misdemeanor and punishable by 90 days to 1 year in jail as well as fines reaching $5,000.
If the value of damage caused is less than $50, malicious mischief is a misdemeanor that may be penalized with a jail term no longer than 90 days and fines no more than $1,000.
*If the malicious mischief involves vandalism or graffiti less that does less than $250 in damage, it is a gross misdemeanor and carries a potential sentence of 90 days to 1 year in jail and fines up to $5,000.
Arson in the First Degree
You may be charged with the most serious arson or burning charge, arson in the 1st degree. In order to be found guilty of this offense, however, the prosecution will have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you knowingly and maliciously did one of the following:
- Caused a fire or explosion that damaged a dwelling
- Cased a fire or explosion in any building where someone is present
- Caused a fire or explosion on property valued at $10,000 with the intent to collect insurance money.
First degree arson is a Class A felony and ranked at a seriousness level VIII. This means that if you are convicted of this offense and have no prior convictions on your record you will face a potential sentence of 123-164 months in prison. Prior felony convictions on your record will only increase the potential sentence.
Arson in the Second Degree
Second degree arson is proved by showing you knowingly and maliciously caused a fire or explosion that damaged any building, structure, vehicle, watercraft, aircraft, bridge, crop, pasture land, fence, lumber, or any other property not set forth as being arson in the 1st degree.
Arson in the second degree is a Class B felony and a seriousness level IV offense punishable by 3-12 months in prison for someone with no prior criminal record. If you do have other convictions on your record this sentence could be elevated to as much as 70 months in prison.
Reckless Burning in the First Degree
If you are charged with this offense the prosecution will be tasked with proving that you recklessly damaged a building, structure, vehicle, aircraft, watercraft, crop, or timber by knowingly causing a fire or explosion.
This offense is a Class C felony ranked as a seriousness level I. This means for a first time offender with no criminal record, you would be facing less than 60 days in prison. However if you do have prior convictions on your record, this sentence can be much higher.
Reckless Burning in the Second Degree
Reckless burning in the second degree can be your charge if you knowingly cause a fire or explosion on your own or someone else’s property and place a building, structure, car, aircraft, watercraft, or crop in danger of destruction or damage.
Second degree reckless burning is a gross misdemeanor and is typically punishable by more than 90 days in jail.
Free Consultation on Malicious Mischief & Property Damage Charges in Washington State
We can help you with this difficult situation. We can explain about similar cases to yours, and what you can expect. Malicious mischief offense can get complicated, especially if it is an element of a domestic violence case.
Our experience is extremely important in cases like these. We want to help you with yours and want you to put your trust in us. Call for a consultation on your case and see why experience truly does make a difference.