In Colorado the crime of criminal mischief is defined as knowingly damaging the property of another or property owned jointly with another.

The actual charge and penalty faced for this offense is dependent on the value of the property that was damaged.

Here are some typical examples and ranges. Of course, these maximum penalties are rarely if ever used, so don’t panic.

Criminal Damage Charge Potential Sentence
Less than $500 Class 2 Misdemeanor 3 months to 1 year in jail and $250 to $1,000 in fines.
$500 to $1,000 Class 1 Misdemeanor 6 to 18 months in jail and $500- $5,000 in fines.
$1,000 to $20,000 Class 4 Felony 2 to 6 years in prison and $2,000 to $500,000 in fines.
More than $20,000 Class 3 Felony 4 to 12 years in prison and $3,000 to $750,000 in fines.

Ref: Colo. Rev. Stat. 18-4-501

Colorado Defacing Property Laws

You may be charged with defacing property (vandalism) in Colorado under a few different circumstances:

  1. Destroying, defacing, removing, or damaging any historical monument, or
  2. Defacing or aiding or permitting the defacing of public or private property without consent of the owner. This includes painting, drawing, writing, etc. (graffiti)

The seriousness of the offense depends on if you have been prosecuted for this offense before. If this is your first offense, you will be charged with a Class 2 misdemeanor punishable by 3 months to one year in jail and $250 to $1,000 in fines.

If this happens to be your second or subsequent conviction, you face Class 1 misdemeanor charges and a potential sentence of 6 to 18 months in jail and at least $750 and up to $5,000 in fines.

If convicted of graffiti, the judge may order you to repair the property that was damaged or compensate the owner for the loss of the property if it is not repairable. You may also lose your driver’s license for a period of time to be determined by the judge.

Ref: Colo. Rev. Stat. 18-4-509