Criminal mischief and criminal tampering are two classes of property damage crimes in New York.
Under New York state law, the property damage offense of criminal mischief if separated into 4 classifications of felony and misdemeanor charges. The cost of the damage and the means of destruction are the key factors in determining the severity of a criminal mischief charge in New York state.
Criminal Mischief in the 4th Degree
You may be facing this offense if the prosecutor has probable cause to believe that you did any of the following:
- Intentionally damaged someone else’s property,
- Intentionally participated in the destruction of an abandoned building,
- Recklessly damaged property of someone else’s where the damage is valued at more than $250,
- Intentionally disabling a communication device when someone is attempting to seek emergency assistance from someone else in order to protect themselves or someone else from imminent physical injury.
Fourth degree criminal mischief if a Class A misdemeanor which carries a potential sentence of up to one year in jail and $1,000 in fines.
Ref: 3 NYPEN §145.0
Criminal Mischief in the 3rd Degree
You could be facing charges of criminal mischief in the 3rd degree if you do any of the following with intent to damage someone else’s property without right to do so:
- Having 3 or more prior criminal mischief convictions, you break into a locked vehicle with the intent of stealing property,
- Damage someone else’s property where the damage is valued at more than $250.
3rd degree criminal mischief is a Class E felony punishable by up to 4 years in prison.
Ref: 3 NYPEN §145.05
Criminal Mischief in the 2nd Degree
Criminal mischief in the 2nd degree occurs when you act with intent to damage someone else’s property and actually damage it where the damage is valued at more than $1,500.
Second degree criminal mischief is a Class D felony which carries a potential sentence of up to 7 years in prison.
Ref: 3 NYPEN §145.10
Criminal Mischief in the 1st Degree
First degree criminal mischief occurs when, acting with intent, you damage someone else’s property by means of explosives.
This is a serious offense and a Class B felony charge. Class B felonies carry a potential sentence of up to 25 years in prison.
Ref: 3 NYPEN §145.12
Criminal Tampering in the 3rd Degree
You could be charged with this offense if the prosecution has probable cause that you tamper with the property of someone else with the intent to cause substantial inconvenience to someone.
This offense is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail and fines.
Ref: 3 NYPEN §145.14
Criminal Tampering in the 2nd Degree
Criminal tampering in the 2nd degree is applicable when you tamper with or make a connection to the property of a utility company. This includes a gas company, water company, common carrier, sewage system, etc.
This offense is a Class A misdemeanor which carries a potential sentence of up to 1 year in jail.
Ref: 3 NYPEN §145.15
Criminal Tampering in the 1st Degree
You could be facing charges of 1st degree criminal tampering if you act with intent and cause a substantial interruption or impairment of a utility service.
This most serious of criminal tampering charges is considered a Class D felony which carries a potential sentence of up to 7 years in prison.
Ref: 3 NYPEN §145.20