Criminal mischief is the most commonly prosecuted criminal property damage charge in the state of New Hampshire. You could be charged with this offense if you “purposefully or recklessly” damage someone else’s property.
The seriousness of the precise criminal charge you face is dependent on several factors, including the value of the damage done.
Class B Felony Criminal Mischief
Criminal mischief is considered a Class B Felony if any of the following are characteristics of the crime:
- The damage is valued at more than $1,000,
- It causes a substantial interruption or impairment of utility or public transportation,
- It involves a discharge of a firearm at an occupied structure, or
- It is criminal damage to property where you know that the property has historical, cultural, or sentimental value that can’t be replaced or restored by repair.
Class B felonies in the state of New Hampshire carry a potential penalty of 1 to 7 years in prison.
Class A Misdemeanor Criminal Mischief
You could be charged with criminal mischief as a Class A misdemeanor if the damage is valued at less than $1,000 and more than $100.
A Class A misdemeanor carries a potential sentence of up to one year in jail.
Misdemeanor Criminal Mischief Penalties
All other criminal mischief charges in New Hampshire are considered misdemeanor offenses. This means if you damage someone else’s property and the damage is valued at less than $100 you will face penalties of up to one year in jail.
If convicted of criminal mischief, you will be required to pay restitution to the victim. This means you will pay the cost of the damage above and beyond any fines you are sentenced to.
Ref: New Hampshire Criminal Code §634:2
You could be facing this serious charge if you knowingly start a fire or cause an explosion which damages the property of another. The potential sentence you face is largely dependent on the value of damage caused by the fire.
Class A felony Arson
You could be charged with a Class A felony if the offense occurs on an occupied structure and you knew it was occupied or if the arson is committed in a historic structure.
Class A felonies are punishable by more than 7 years in the New Hampshire state prison system.
Class B felony Arson
Your charge will be a Class B felony if the arson was committed:
- in an attempt to collect insurance money,
- recklessly places another in danger of death or serious bodily injury,
- places someone else’s structure in danger of damage, or
- the property damaged is real estate, or
- the damage is greater than $1,000.
Under New Hampshire statutes, Class B felonies are punishable by up to 7 years in prison.
Ref: New Hampshire Criminal Code §634:1