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Criminal Mischief in Florida is defined as the willful and malicious injury or damage to property belonging to another person.
 
Florida law specifically provides that placing graffiti or “tagging” on property that does not belong to you will qualify as Criminal Mischief in Florida.

Penalties for a Criminal Mischief Charge

In Florida, Criminal Mischief can be classified as either a second or first degree misdemeanor, or, under certain circumstances, as a third degree felony.

If the damage to the property is $200 or less, Criminal Mischief in Florida is classified as a second degree misdemeanor punishable by up to:
  1. Sixty days in the county jail;
  2. Six months of supervised probation;
  3. A $500 fine
If the damage to the property is more than $200 but less than $1,000, Criminal Mischief in FLorida is classified as a first degree misdemeanor punishable by up to:
  1. One year in the county jail;
  2. One year of supervised probation;
  3. A $1,000 fine
If the damage to the property is $1,000 or more, or if there is an interruption or impairment of a business operation or public service which causes $1,000 or more to restore, Criminal Mischief in Florida is classified as a third degree felony punishable by up to:
  1. Five years in state prison;
  2. Five years of supervised probation;
  3. A $5,000 fine
In Florida, Criminal Mischief will also be classified as a third degree felony if any of following is true:
  1. You have previously been convicted of Criminal Mischief in Florida;
  2. You willfully deface or damage a church, synagogue, mosque, or other place of worship or any religious article contained within if the damage exceeds $200;
  3. You willfully destroy or substantially damage a public telephone or other equipment associated with the public telephone; or
  4. You will willfully deface or damage a sexually violent predator detention or commitment facility or any property contained within if the damage exceeds $200.
These penalties are in addition to any cost of repair to the property damaged.

Graffiti or "Tagging"
Florida law carves out special exceptions to graffiti as it relates to a Criminal Mischief charge.
 
The Criminal Mischief statute in Florida provides that a person who places graffiti on another person’s property will be required to pay a minimum fine of:
  1. $250 for a first conviction;
  2. $500 for a second conviction;
  3. $1,000 for a third or subsequent conviction
Additionally, you will have to perform at least 40 hours of community service and may have to provide 100 hours of community service that involves the removal of graffiti.

Parental Responsibility for Minors who commit Criminal Mischief in Florida
The Florida Criminal Mischief law specifically holds parents and legal guardians responsible for the payment of any fines ordered as a result of a minor’s Criminal Mischief conviction.

Driver’s License Suspension for Juveniles/Minors
A minor’s driver’s license may also be revoked for a period of one year if convicted of Criminal Mischief in Florida.

Defenses to a Criminal Mischief Charge

In addition to factual defenses that would be raised at trial to show reasonable doubt as to the crime alleged, some common defenses to a Criminal Mischief charge in Florida include:

The damage was not done willfully

Accidents happen. You will only have committed the crime of Criminal Mischief if you willfully damaged or destroyed another’s property. An accidental incident is not a crime and you will have a viable defense.

Contact Orlando Criminal Defense Attorney Chris Kaigle if you’ve been charged with Criminal Mischief in Florida!
(407) 545-6416