The State of Delaware defines criminal mischief as “intentionally or recklessly” doing any of the following:
- Damaging property of another person,
- Tampering with property of someone else as to endanger that person or their property, or
- Tampering with or making a connection with property of utilities (gas, electric, water, telephone, etc) with no lawful purpose.
The charge and sentence you face depends on the damage done. If the value of the damage is more than $1,500 of if the act intentionally caused a substantial interruption or impairment of public works you will face Class G felony charges. Class G felony charges carry a potential sentence of up to 2 years in prison
If the value of damage is less than $1,000 you will be charged with a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and fines reaching $2,300.
Ref: Delaware Criminal Code §811
Delaware Graffiti Laws
If you commit the offense of graffiti (vandalism), you could face felony or misdemeanor charges depending on the damage to property. Graffiti is defined, under Delaware law as intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly drawing, painting, etching, or making marks on any public or private property without the permission of the owner.
If the damage done is valued at more than $1,500 the charge you face is a Class G felony punishable by up to 2 years in prison.
Otherwise the charge is a Class A misdemeanor which carries a potential one year jail sentence and $2,300 in fines.
All graffiti charges carry a minimum $500 fines, restitution for damage done, and 200 hours of community service. At least half of the required community service hours will be spent removing graffiti.
Ref: Delaware Criminal Code §812
Delaware Reckless Burning Laws
Reckless burning is another serious property crime in the state of Delaware. You may be charged with this offense if you intentionally start a fire or cause an explosion which recklessly places a building or property in danger of destruction or damage, or places another person in danger of injury.
Reckless burning where the amount of damage is less than $1,500 is charged as a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in jail and fines up to $2,300.
If the loss is more than $1,500 it is elevated to a Class G felony charge which carries a potential sentence of up to 2 years in prison and fines.
Ref: Delaware Criminal Code §804
Delaware Arson Laws
1st Degree Arson
Arson in the 1st degree involves intentionally damaging a building by starting a fire or causing an explosion when you know someone is present in the building or that the presence of a person in the building is a reasonable possibility.
First degree arson is a very serious Class C felony punishable by up to 15 years in state prison.
Ref: Delaware Criminal Code §803
2nd Degree Arson
You could be charged with arson in the 2nd degree if the prosecution has probable cause that you intentionally damage a building by starting a fire or explosion for an unlawful purpose.
Arson in the 2nd degree is a Class D felony which could result in a sentence of up to 8 years in prison.
Ref: Delaware Criminal Code §802
3rd Degree Arson
Third degree arson is committed when you recklessly damage a building by starting a fire or explosion. Arson in the 3rd degree is a Class G felony punishable up to 2 years in prison
Ref: Delaware Criminal Code §801