With Halloween having just past, many young people in the Bryan area may now find themselves in legal trouble over what they thought was a harmless prank. Others may, to some extent, be in a worse situation since they are being accused of participating in a destructive prank when in fact they were not involved or, at worst, in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The penalties in Texas for vandalism, which the law calls “criminal mischief” are serious. At a minimum, a person who damages, destroys or even in some cases messes with another person’s property is looking at a misdemeanor conviction, which goes on a person’s permanent record and will mean the possibility of an arrest, fines, probation, community service and even the possibility of jail time.
Youngsters in particular should also be aware that they do not necessarily have to cause any permanent damage to a person’s property in order to get charged and convicted. If a person has to clean up a mess and it makes more than just a few passing minutes, then if that person calls the police, charges may get filed and they may stick.
Depending on the amount and type of damage, criminal mischief penalties, even for a first offense, can get progressively more severe. For example, if a prank leads to damage of more than $2,500, even if a person didn’t intend the damage to be serious, a felony conviction is possible.
Criminal mischief charges should be taken seriously, as they can have life-altering consequences, especially for someone who is just getting started in life. Those who are accused of criminal mischief should consider getting help with their criminal defense.
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