This common property damage crime known as Criminal Damage to Property is classified into two distinct offenses in Louisiana.
Simple Criminal Damage to Property – Louisiana Laws & Penalties
This offense is defined by Louisiana law as intentionally damaging of someone else’s property without the owner’s consent. The type of charge you face depends on the value of the damage caused.
If the value of damage is less than $500, you could face up to 6 months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
If the value of the damage is between $500 and $50,000, you could face up to two years in prison and $1,000 in fines.
If the value of property damage is more than $50,000 you will face a sentence of 1 to 10 years in prison and fines reaching up to $10,000.
Aggravated Criminal Damage to Property
Aggravated criminal damage to property is more serious than simple criminal damage. You could face this charge if you intentionally damage any structure, watercraft, or other vehicle where it is foreseeable that someone’s life might be endangered.
If you face this charge you could be sentenced to up to 1 to 15 years in prison and a fine of $10,000.
Damage to Property with Intent to Defraud
You could be facing this charge if you are accused of damaging property of your own or another’s with intent to defraud. This would apply to attempts to fraudulently collect insurance money or to defraud a lien holder, for instance.
This offense carries a potential sentence of up to 4 years in prison and fines of up to $10,000.
Criminal mischief is an extensive law. You could be charged with this offense if the prosecution has probable cause that you did any of the following:
- Tampered with the property of another without consent, and with the intent to interfere with the enjoyment of any rights of the owner or to deprive someone the full use of the property,
- Gave a false alarm of fire or other emergency,
- Drove a tack, nail, or spike into any tree located on the land of another,
- Pruned or topped trees or shrubs within the right-of-way of a state highway without prior permission, (all you gangsta prunas beware!)
- Gave a false report to law enforcement concerning a crime or an attempt to commit a crime,
- Threw any stone or other missile into a street or other roadway, public square or enclosure,
- Took temporary possession of any part of a place of business or remained in a business after being asked to leave the premises,
- Committed communication to any person to disrupt a public utility water service,
- Discharged any firearm at a train, or
- Put graffiti on any public or private property without consent.
A conviction of criminal mischief carries a potential sentence of up to 6 months in jail and a fine of up to $500.
Ref: LRS §14:59