The most commonly prosecuted property damage law in Vermont is Unlawful Mischief. This offense is defined as intentionally damaging someone else’s property without the right to do so. Vermont’s unlawful mischief laws encompass offenses ranging from vandalism/tagging, road rage incidents, destruction of property in family or neighbor disputes, and more.

The consequences you face if you are convicted of unlawful mischief depends on the value of the damage that occurred in the commission of the offense.

Value of Damage Potential Penalty
More than $1,000 Up to 5 years in prison and $5,000 in fines (felony)
More than $250 Up to 1 year in jail and $1,000 in fines (misdemeanor)
Less than $250 Up to 6 months in jail and $500 in fines (misdemeanor)
Damage done by fire or explosive Up to 5 years in prison and $5,000 in fines (felony)

Ref: Vermont Statutes §13-81-3701

Fire Protection Apparatus

If you are charged with tampering or interfering with a fire protection apparatus including water mains, fire hydrants, or those of either public or private water systems, you could be charge with a felony. This very serious felony offense carries a potential sentence of up to $1,000 in fines and 10 years in prison.

Ref: Vermont Statutes §13-81-3729

Interfering with Meters

This offense refers to maliciously opening, breaking into, adjusting, or interfering with a regulating meter owned or used by an electricity, gas, or water company for monitoring usage. This is a misdemeanor charge and carries with it a potential sentence of 3 months in prison and $100 in fines.

Ref: Vermont Statutes §13-81-3784

Tapping Cable Television Systems

If you are accused of stealing cable television by tampering and altering the equipment of a cable company you will be fined. This includes “splitting” cables from a paying customer to your own benefit. In addition to the maximum fine of $100, you will also be responsible for paying the cable company for any damages.

Ref: Vermont Statutes §13-81-3786