Malicious Mischief

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Bellevue Malicious Mischief Attorneys

What is Malicious Mischief?

Malicious mischief can be charged under many circumstances. Some common examples are graffitiing a person’s property without their consent, shattering a window with rocks, “keying” a person’s car, and flooding a house by clogging a sink and leaving the water running. Some states call these acts “vandalism,” but the state of Washington refers to them as “malicious mischief.”

That said, malicious mischief in Washington State can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the extent, type, and cost of the damage. The difference between a misdemeanor and a felony is the difference between less than a year in jail and several years behind bars, so you should fight for the best possible outcome in your situation with the help of an experienced, focused legal representative. Our Bellevue malicious mischief lawyers have over four decades of combined legal experience and can put our skills to work in your case. While the odds may seem stacked against you, rest assured that we will exhaust every strategy needed to help you move forward.

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Malicious Mischief in the First Degree in Washington State

If you are facing first-degree malicious mischief charges in Washington State, the penalties can be tough upon a conviction. A class B felony, malicious mischief in the first degree is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and/or a $20,000 fine. It is committed when a person knowingly and maliciously does the following:

  • Causes physical damage to the property of another in an amount exceeding five thousand dollars
  • Causes an interruption or impairment of service rendered to the public by physically damaging or tampering with an emergency vehicle or property of the state, a political subdivision thereof, or a public utility or mode of public transportation, power, or communication
  • Causes an impairment of the safety, efficiency, or operation of an aircraft by physically damaging or tampering with the aircraft or aircraft equipment, fuel, lubricant, or parts
  • Causes an interruption or impairment of service rendered to the public by physically damaging, destroying, or removing an official ballot deposit box or ballot drop box or damaging, destroying, removing, or tampering with the contents within

So, if you tampered with the electrical grid or water utilities, for example, then you can get in legal trouble. If you popped the tires of a police patrol vehicle, then you could also get charged for first-degree malicious mischief.

Second-Degree Malicious Mischief Charges in WA

Malicious mischief in the second degree is also a felony but not as severe as that of a first-degree malicious mischief charge. Second-degree malicious mischief is a class C felony punishable by a maximum of 5 years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine. With these penalties in mind, a person commits second-degree malicious mischief if they knowingly and maliciously:

  • Causes physical damage to another person’s property in an amount exceeding $750
  • Creates a substantial risk of interruption or impairment of service rendered to the public, by physically damaging or tampering with an emergency vehicle or property of the state, a political subdivision thereof, or a public utility or mode of public transportation, power, or communication
  • Creates a substantial risk of interruption or impairment of service rendered to the public by physically damaging, destroying, or removing an official ballot deposit box or ballot drop box or without lawful authority, damaging, destroying, removing, or tampering with the contents within

An example of this offense is when an angry ex shatters their former partner’s car windows with a baseball bat in spite of the breakup. Although it may not seem like it at first, committing this act can amount to a felony.

Washington State Charges for Third-Degree Malicious Mischief

The least serious charge for this offense, third-degree malicious mischief, is a gross misdemeanor punishable by up to 364 days in jail and/or a maximum $5,000 fine. This crime is committed when a person does the following:

  • Knowingly and maliciously causes physical damage to another person’s property under circumstances not amounting to malicious mischief in the first or second degree
  • Writes, paints, or draws any inscription, figure, or mark on any public or private building or other structure or any real or personal property without the owner’s consent under circumstances not amounting to malicious mischief in the first or second degree

As you can see, actions like tagging, egging, or toilet papering (“TP’ing”) someone’s property without their consent can be considered third-degree malicious mischief in Washington State.

Get Trustworthy Legal Help on Your Side

At Veitch Ault Defense, we understand that you may be anxious and overwhelmed by your situation. Maybe your prank went wrong, or you found yourself with the wrong crowd. Or maybe you were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Whatever the circumstances may be, know that our Bellevue malicious mischief attorneys are here to help. We can work to prove that you lacked knowledge and malice in the alleged crime, as well as scrutinize each element of the prosecutor’s arguments altogether.

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Our mission is to help you move forward with the least amount of damage possible. To get started, contact us or at 425-452-1600. Let’s get to work!

Contact us today for a free consultation and find out how we can help.

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