According to Washington Law, causing physical harm to someone else’s property with intent or knowledge constitutes intentional mischief. Property destruction, another name for malicious mischief, has different severity levels, each with its standards and associated penalties. If the damaged property belonged to a family member or home, this act is frequently prosecuted as a domestic violence offense.

You may wonder what might happen to you if you are charged with malicious mischief in Seattle. If you have been accused of these offenses, please speak with an experienced malicious mischief attorney for more details regarding your case.

First-degree malicious mischief

An individual commits first-degree malicious mischief if they intentionally and knowingly:

  • Physically damage another person’s property for a sum greater than $5,000: If you cause damage to the property of a family member, close friend, or other person with whom you have a close relationship, charges for malicious mischief may accompany charges for domestic violence.
  • Cause physical damage to or tampering with state property, emergency vehicles, political subdivisions, public utilities, or modes of public transit, electricity, or communication to interrupt or impede the provision of services to the public.
  • Cause physical damage to or tamper with an aircraft or its equipment, fuel, lubricant, or parts to compromise its safety, efficiency, or operation.

First-degree malicious mischief carries a $20,000 fine and a sentence of up to 10 years in jail.

Second-degree malicious mischief

Second and third-degree malicious mischief involves different industries and public goods and is progressively less harmful. Second-degree malicious mischief happens when someone:

  • Does physical harm to another person’s property for more than $750-5000
  • Poses a serious risk of physically destroying or interfering with a state emergency vehicle, state property, a political subdivision, a public utility, a means of public transit, power, or communication, or any other item that could interrupt or impede the public’s access to services.

For this offense, there is a $10,000 maximum fine and a maximum five-year jail sentence.

Third-degree malicious mischief

Malicious mischief in the third degree has occurred if an individual:

  • Willfully and maliciously causes physical harm to another person’s property, provided the circumstances do not amount to malicious mischief in the first or second degree.
  • Willfully and maliciously writes, paints, or draws any inscription, figure, or mark on a building, other structure, or any real or personal property owned by another individual unless the owner or operator of the property has given full permission. Graffiti is the term for writing, painting, or drawing any mark on any structure. Accusing this act of malicious mischief as a high misdemeanor is possible.

A conviction carries a lower sentence of up to a year in jail and a $5,000 fine.

Defending yourself against malicious mischief charges

You will probably be charged with malicious mischief and placed under custody if there is proof that you damaged the other party’s house, car, or other property. The opposing party’s testimony, which is frequently biased, serves as the only proof against you in many situations.

For this reason, you need to be sure your malicious mischief lawyer is experienced. Your expert litigator aims to reduce the fines you must pay and secure a better result.