Damage to property, or vandalism, is typically seen as a juvenile crime. However, juvenile crimes are not taken lightly. Vandalism can come in a variety of forms, including causing hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage to someone else’s properties. If the act that has been committed lowers the value of the property or causes any harm to it, it can be called vandalism. Forms of vandalism can include the following:
- Breaking someone’s window
- Keying someone’s car
- Spray painting or graffiti
- Damaging someone’s door
These are only four examples of possible damage to property instances. When someone has been accused of intentionally damaging someone’s property, the prosecutor has to prove that the person being accused intentionally caused the damage to the property. The prosecutors do not have to show that the damage to the property was the intending outcome, but the prosecutors do have to prove that it was a calculated act.
One vandalism incident will not be the same as the next one. Since these incidents are different, Minnesota breaks down vandalism crimes in three categories. What are the three degrees of vandalism?
Damage to Property- First Degree
When someone is charged with damage to property in the first degree, they are being charged with the most severe type of vandalism that someone can be charged with. Someone who has been charged with first-degree damage to property generally caused severe damage to another person’s property. Not only did the person cause severe damage to the property, the following conditions also existed:
- The property that was damaged will cause disorder to the public, especially if the damaged property was a common utility service
- The damage to the property resulted in a decrease in the property value
- There was a risk of harm to the body
- The person who committed the crime has a previous history of damaging properties
If someone is found guilty of committing first-degree damage to property, he or she can face a prison sentence. Someone can spend up to five years in prison. The person who committed the crime can also expect to pay fines and repaying for the damage that was caused.
Damage to Property- Second Degree
When someone intentionally causes damage to someone else’s property because of their demographic or background, that person has committed a crime of second-degree criminal damage to property. When someone is looking at a charge of second-degree vandalism, this person can face up to one year in prison. Fines and other penalties will also have to be paid. The fines can total over $2,000.
Damage to Property- Third Degree
Third-degree damage to property is one of the most common forms of damage to property. When someone damages another person’s property without any consent, that person will be guilty of committing damage to property in the third degree. Third-degree damage to property can come with a prison sentence, but that prison sentence should not be for over one year. Someone can also be sentenced to pay a fine, but that fine should not total more than $3,000. However, if the person has reduced the property value over $500 but less than $1000, the person can be sentenced to prison and still be required to pay the fines.
When it comes to a vandalism case, the entire process can be quite extensive. All the degrees of damage to property will carry the possibility of being sentenced to jail and/or paying fines. It is important that you understand what may be at stake if you or a loved one is being accused of damaging someone’s property.
Contact us today for a consultation. We want to help you prepare for what may be ahead.