Arizona Criminal Damage

Criminal damage is the most common property damage crime in the state of Arizona. It encompasses many actions and there are several ways you could be charged with it.

Generally, criminal damage is recklessly doing any one of the following:

A.     Damaging or defacing the property of another

B.     Tampering with someone else’s property to impair its function or reduce its value,

C.     Tampering with utility property (gas, water, telephone, etc),

D.     Parking your vehicle to block livestock from getting access to water, or

E.      Graffiti on a public or private building.

The charge entered with the court is dependent on the value of the damage. The value in question is not the value of the property (unless it was completely destroyed), but the value of the damage done.

Value Criminal Damage Charge Potential Sentence for first time felony offenders
$10,000 or more Class 4 Felony 1 ½ to 3 years in prison
$2,000- $10,000 Class 5 Felony 8 months to 2 years in prison
$250- $2,000 Class 6 Felony 6 to 18 months in prison
Less than $250 Class 2 Misdemeanor Up to 4 months in jail and $750 in fines

All felonies in Arizona carry a potential maximum fine of $150,000.

In addition to your potential prison sentence and fines, you may be required to pay restitution to the victim of your offense.

Ref: ARS 13-1602

Aggravated Criminal Damage

More serious that criminal damage, aggravated criminal damage involves more intent in your actions and carries much harsher penalties. You may be charged with this elevated offense if the prosecution has probable cause that you committed any of the following acts either intentionally or recklessly:

A.     Defacing, damaging, or changing the appearance of any building, structure, personal property, or church,

B.     Defacing or damaging any place used as a school, or

C.     Defacing, damaging, or tampering with any cemetery, mortuary or the property of one,

Like criminal mischief, the charges you face for this offense depend on the value of the damage done.

Value Charge Potential Sentence for first time felony offenders
$10,000 or more Class 4 felony 1 ½ to 3 years in prison
$500- $10,000 Class 5 felony 8 months to 2 years in prison
Less than $500 Class 6 felony 6 to 18 months in prison

Aggravated criminal damage can also be committed by damaging, defacing, or tampering with agricultural property, construction sites, or structure used to obtain nonferrous metals. If you are charged with one of these offenses your charge will be slightly elevated from those above.

Ref: ARS 13-1604

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