If you knowingly or purposefully do any of the following actions you could be charged with a criminal mischief offense in Montana:

  1. Injure, damage, or destroy any property  of someone else or public property,
  2. Tamper with someone else’s or public property to endanger or interfere with people, property, or its use,
  3. Damage or destroy any property with the purpose to defraud an insurer, or
  4. Fail to close a gate that was previously unopened leading in or out of any enclosed premises.

Many property damage laws on the books in Montana have to do with injury or damage to livestock.

Montana Criminal Mischief Penalties

How you are charged with this offense depends on the specifics of your case.

If the value of the damage to property is less than $1,000 you will face a misdemeanor charge and a potential sentence of up to 6 months in jail and fines reaching $1,000.

However, if the damage done is valued at more than $1,000, a domestic hoofed animal is killed, or the damage causes a substantial interruption or impairment in public utilities you will face felony charges and a potential sentence of up to 10 years in prison and fines reaching $50,000.

Restitution will also be ordered by the judge. This means you will be required to pay for the damage you did in addition to any fines.

Ref: Montana Criminal Code §45-6-101

Criminal Destruction of or Tampering with Communication Device – Laws & Penalties

You could face this serious offense if the prosecution has reason to believe that you purposefully or knowingly destroyed or tampered with a telephone or other communication device to obstruct, prevent, or interfere with any of the following:

  1. A report to law enforcement of any criminal offense,
  2. A report to law enforcement of any bodily injury or property damage, or
  3. A request made to any agency, doctor, hospital or medical provider for ambulance or other medical assistance.

Destroying or tampering under this law includes making the device unusable or inoperable by interrupting its use or making it inaccessible.

This is a misdemeanor offense which carries a potential sentence of up to 6 months in jail and fines reaching $1,000.

Ref: Montana Criminal Code §45-6-105