In general, criminal mischief is defined by Iowa Code as intentionally damaging, defacing, altering, or destroying tangible property without authority. The charge you face depends on the cost of the damage. The specific criminal offense can also vary depending on the specific actions or kind of property that was damaged.
Ref: Iowa Criminal Code 716.1
Iowa 1st Degree Criminal Mischief Laws & Penalties
Criminal Mischief in the first degree occurs when the cost of replacing, repairing, or restoring the property is greater than $10,000 or if the acts are intended to cause a substantial interruption or impairment of service to the public by a utility.
1st degree criminal mischief is a Class C felony which carries a potential penalty of up to 10 years in prison and fines ranging from $1,000 to $10,000.
Ref: Iowa Criminal Code 716.3
2nd Degree Criminal Mischief
Your criminal mischief charge could be criminal mischief in the 2nd degree if the value of replacing or repairing the damaged property is between $1,000 and $10,000.
This offense is a Class D felony which carries a potential sentence of up to 5 years in prison and fines from $750 to $7,500.
Ref: Iowa Criminal Code 716.4
3rd Degree Criminal Mischief
Criminal Mischief in the 3rd degree applies when the cost to repair or replace the damaged property is $500 to $1,000 or if the property is a deed, will, or legal papers that the act renders less effective. This offense also applies to damaging any light, signal, barricade, or guard which has been put in place to enclose any unsafe or dangerous place.
You can also face this 3rd degree criminal mischief charges if you remove human remains from a burial site or remove remains that have state or scientific importance.
Criminal mischief in the 3rd degree is an aggravated misdemeanor which could land you in prison for up to 2 years and carry fines reaching from $500 to $5,000.
Ref: Iowa Criminal Code 716.5
4th Degree Criminal Mischief
4th degree criminal mischief applies to offenses where the cost of replacing, repairing, or restoring the property damaged is more than $200 but less than $500. This offense is a serious misdemeanor which carries a potential penalty of up to 1 year in jail and fines ranging from $250 to $1,500.
5th degree criminal mischief
Criminal mischief in the 5th degree is the Iowa criminal charge you may face if you are charged with criminal mischief but it doesn’t fit the requirements for any of the other classifications. 5th degree criminal mischief is a simple misdemeanor which carries up to 30 days in jail and fines between $50 and $500.
Ref: Iowa Criminal Code 716.6