Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney in Mattoon, IL. After Charges of Criminal Mischief

As long as people have owned property, there have been instances of criminal mischief. Any time someone damages another person’s property without permission, criminal mischief has occurred. This offense is sometimes known as vandalism, malicious mischief, or property damage, depending on the jurisdiction.

Damage Without Possession

Criminal mischief occurs when a person causes damage to someone else’s property. The extent of the damage may be significant or minor, but it’s the damage itself that is the main issue. Criminal mischief isn’t about taking someone’s property, it’s about defacing, breaking, or damaging it without consent.


A person cannot unintentionally get into criminal mischief. Current law requires the property to be damaged on purpose. For example, if a baseball is accidentally hit through a neighbor’s window, it is not criminal mischief. Conversely, if the person hits baseballs at the house on purpose and one goes through the window, it is a crime. It does not matter whether the actor intended to cause damage, all that matters is that the person took intentional actions that they knew could result in damaged property.

Different Kinds of Damage

Criminal mischief covers a variety of activities, from graffiti to removal of boundary markers. In some areas, it encompasses actions such as setting off smoke bombs or hacking a computer network. Consult a criminal defense attorney in Mattoon, IL. for area-specific information.


In some instances, a reckless action can lead to criminal mischief charges. For instance, using fire, explosives, or other dangerous items with no regard for the outcome, and causing property damage as a result, would bring charges of criminal mischief.

Extent of Damage

Many jurisdictions differentiate between degrees of mischief according to the severity of damage or whether certain elements are a factor. For instance, the lowest level of criminal mischief involves minimal damage, and more severe damage raises the offense to a greater degree. A higher degree can apply if a person has committed the offense before, or if the crime put people at risk of harm.

Consult an Attorney

A criminal mischief charge may seem minor, especially if it does not involve severe damage or it’s the defendant’s first offense. However, even misdemeanor charges can have lasting effects. Clients should visit the law offices of Britton Law Offices, LLC at their website to speak to a criminal defense attorney in Mattoon, IL. when they face charges of criminal mischief. You can also visit them on Facebook for more information.

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