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Criminal Mischief

One question often asked is “what exactly is criminal mischief?” Criminal Mischief is defined as a property crime and is essentially another word for vandalism. The punishment for criminal mischief depends on the dollar value of the property damage. The most common example of criminal mischief is graffiti, but there are others, and some acts of vandalism could subject defendants to felony sentences.

Criminal Mischief charges can have life-altering consequences on a child at worst and be a financial nuisance to parents or guardians at best. 

Attorney for Criminal Mischief in Pensacola, Florida

Criminal Defense Attorney John Terrezza is a dedicated Florida native who aggressively defends the rights of his clients throughout Pensacola, Florida. He takes cases in Escambia County in Pensacola and Santa Rosa, County in Milton. 

Submit your free evaluation online now, or call (850) 764-5291 to make an appointment.

John Terrezza’s offices are conveniently located in on Gregory St. in Downtown Pensacola,

If you or your minor child has been charged with criminal mischief, visit the Law Office of John Terrezza to discuss the potential defenses in your case.


Definition of Criminal Mischief Provided by Florida Statute §806.13

To find a person guilty of criminal mischief the prosecution must prove, beyond all reasonable doubt, that the defendant willfully and maliciously damaged real or personal property that belonged to someone else.

Some Examples of Criminal Mischief Include:


Penalties for Criminal Mischief

Criminal penalties for vandalism may be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony.

Misdemeanor Charges:

If the property is $200 or less, the charge is a second-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to sixty (60) days in jail and up to a $500 fine.

If the property is less than $1,000, then the charge is a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 364 days in jail and up to a $1,000 fines.

Misdemeanor charges may apply if the criminal mischief is a first offense, but if the defendant has one or more previous criminal mischief violations, then the charge is reclassified as a felony.

Third -Degree Felony Charges:

Felony criminal mischief is charged as a third-degree felony under the Florida Statute if any of the following apply:

Third-degree felonies are punishable by up to five (5) years in prison and up to $1,000 fines. The fines for criminal mischief do not including any order to pay for the value of the damaged property.

Criminal Mischief ---Graffiti

When the criminal mischief offense is for graffiti or tagging, then the defendant is required to pay the following:

In addition to payment, the defendant must perform at least forty (40) hours of general community service and, if possible, at least 100 hours of graffiti removal community service.


Minors and Criminal Mischief

Florida law holds parents and guardians, along with the minor, liable for paying the fines associated with the criminal mischief charges. The court may make an exception if it finds that the minor, (and the parent or legal guardian), is unable to pay.

The court will also order the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to revoke or withhold a minor’s driver’s license.

If the minor’s driver’s license is already under suspension for any reason, the court will order the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to extend the suspension period for an additional year.

Arson and Criminal Mischief                                                

People often mistake arson for a type of criminal mischief charge, but it is not. While both fall under Chapter 12 of the Florida Criminal Jury Instructions, they are different charges.

Arson is a far more serious offense than criminal mischief, and its consequences are far more severe.


Additional Resources:

Florida Statute §806.13 –Visit Online Sunshine, the official website of the Florida Legislature for the full statutory language of the Florida Statutes on Criminal Mischief and the potential consequences of being convicted.


Finding a Criminal Mischief Attorney in Santa, Rosa County, Florida

Call (850) 764-5291 to discuss your case with Attorney John Terrezza. During the consultation, you can learn more about the elements of the criminal mischief, the potential penalties, and the best defenses available for fighting criminal prosecution.

If you or someone you know has been charged with criminal mischief, talking to an experienced criminal defense attorney can help. Submit your free evaluation (internal link) form now to begin the process for your defense.

Call (850) 764-5291 to speak directly with attorney John Terrezza or to schedule an appointment in the Pensacola, FL office.

This page was last updated on Monday, December 19, 2016

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