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Vandalism Attorney in Odessa, TX

Vandalism generally involves defacing or destroying property belonging to someone else. Examples include spray painting graffiti, breaking a window, or keying a car. In Texas, vandalism falls under the “criminal mischief” laws. The penalties for criminal mischief depend on the value of the damage or financial loss and can include misdemeanor or felony charges.  

An innocent person can be charged with vandalism because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. You should not have to plead guilty just because the police wrongly claim you were responsible for vandalism. If you were arrested for criminal mischief, talk to your experienced Odessa criminal defense lawyer about your legal rights so you can fight a criminal conviction.

Texas Vandalism Laws

Under Texas Penal Code Section 28.03, criminal mischief includes intentionally or knowingly doing the following to property without the consent of the owner:

  1. Damage or destroy tangible property;
  2. Tamper with the tangible property and causing financial loss or substantial inconvenience to the owner or a third party; or
  3. Make markings, inscriptions, slogans, drawing, or paintings on the property.

Vandalism Penalties

The penalties for vandalism depend on the value of the damage done and type of property damage involved. The financial loss involved can be the cost to repair the damage or replace the items damaged. What seems like minor damage can involve substantial repairs and end up resulting in felony criminal mischief charges. 

Amount of Loss

Theft Classification

Jail Time

Fines

Less than $100

Class C Misdemeanor

Up to $500

$100 or more but less than $750

Class B Misdemeanor

Up to 180 Days

Up to $2,000


$750 or more but less than $2,500

Class A Misdemeanor

Up to 1 Year

Up to $4,000

$2.500 or more but less than $30,000,

State Jail Felony

180 Days to 2 Years

Up to $10,000

$30,000 or more but less than $150,000

3rd Degree Felony

2 to 10 Years

Up to $10,000

$150,000 or more but less than $300,000

2nd Degree Felony

2 to 20 Years

Up to $10,000

Vandalism by Firearm

If the property damage involves the use of a firearm to damage or destroy a habitation, the charge is a state felony, no matter how much loss was involved. For example, shooting out a porch light of someone's house would be a state felony criminal mischief charge.

There are also separate penalties for criminal mischief involving livestock, horses, public water supply, gas or electrical supply, or public communications wiring or metering devices.

Vandalism Defenses

There may be legal defenses available to any charged with criminal mischief or vandalism. Defenses to criminal mischief can include:

  • Property damage was an accident;
  • The property belonged to the defendant;
  • Another person represented themselves to be the owner;
  • The owner consented to the markings or paintings; or
  • The defendant did not cause any financial loss or substantial inconvenience.

Odessa Criminal Mischief Defense Lawyer

Before pleading guilty to any criminal charge, talk to an experienced Odessa criminal defense attorney about your case. If you've been charged with criminal mischief in Texas, the Law Office of E. Jason Leach, PLLC is here to fight for you.

E. Jason Leach is a Board Certified criminal defense attorney that has dedicated his law practice to defending the accused. To set up a free consultation, contact the Law Office of E. Jason Leach today at (432) 552-7000.

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