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Criminal Damage

Criminal Damage – ARS 13-1602 – Phoenix Criminal Defense Lawyer

Criminal Damage in Arizona is defined under the ARS 13-1602 statute. What is criminal damage? Broadly speaking it is the reckless destruction or damaging of property that belongs to someone else. Damaging public property can also lead to a criminal damage charge. 

You can face a Criminal Damage charge if you deface, tamper, or destroy property that belongs to another person, especially if the damage leads to an item not functioning correctly. Even if an item can be repaired you can still be prosecuted for the damage. 

If you’re facing Criminal Damage charges in Arizona you should contact a criminal defense attorney. Criminal Damage charges can lead to jail time, fines, and a lifelong mark on your record. These are all things you want to avoid. Contact Jack Litwak today by clicking here.


Defenses to Criminal Damage Charge

You have the right to defend yourself. An allegation or charge is not the same as being found guilty. The prosecution has the burden of proof so your best course of action is to call a lawyer. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can guide you. They can offer you possible legal strategies and keep you up to date with everything about your case. 

There are a couple different possible defenses to a criminal damage charge. Here are just a few of them.

  • Innocence
  • Lack of evidence
  • Damage was not sufficient or does not follow the requirements of the law
  • No recklessness

You can also start your defense by analyzing the mental state, or Mens Rea. If there is a lack of intent or lack of recklessness, the state cannot prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt.  Criminally recklessness requires that a person must have acted in a way that is a gross deviation from the standard of conduct that a reasonable person would observe in the same situation. If what you did was not completely out of the norm of what an average person did in causing the damage, you may have a strong defense. Mistaken identification may also play a role, as well as third-party defense or even necessity. 


What are the penalties for Criminal Damage in Arizona?

Criminal Damage penalties depend on the value of what was damaged. Jail time, probation, and fines are all possible consequences of being convicted, even for the lesser degrees of this crime. 

  • If the damage was worth more than $10,000 then you face a fine of $150,000, 3.75 years of prison, and 4 years of probation, if it was a first-time offense. If the damage was worth $5,000 and it was caused due to reckless action towards a public utility then the same punishments apply. 
  • Damage between $2,000 and $10,000 can be met with a $150,000 fine, 2.5 years in prison, and 3 years of probation.
  • Damage that is valued at $1,000 to $2,000 means you can face a fine of up to $150,000, along with two years in prison, as well as three years of probation if you are a first-time offender.
  • Damage valued at under $1,000 means you can expect a fine of up to $2,500, six months in jail, and 3 years of probation. If the value of the damage was under $250 then there is a maximum 2 years of probation and 4 months in jail as well as $750 of fines. 


Is Criminal Damage to Property a Felony?

Yes, Criminal Damage can be charged as a felony. If the damages are above $1,000 but below $2,000 then it is a Class 6 felony. On the other end if the damages are more than $10,000 then it is a Class 4 felony. Any damage before $1,000 is charged as a misdemeanor.


What is Aggravated Criminal Damage?

 A.R.S. 13-1604. defines Aggravated criminal damage as a person committing aggravated criminal damage by intentionally or recklessly without the express permission of the owner:

  1. Defacing, damaging or in any way changing the appearance of any building, structure, personal property or place used for worship or any religious purpose.
  2. Defacing or damaging any building, structure or place used as a school or as an educational facility.
  3. Defacing, damaging or tampering with any cemetery, mortuary or personal property of the cemetery or mortuary or other facility used for the purpose of burial or memorializing the dead.
  4. Defacing, damaging or tampering with any utility or agricultural infrastructure or property, construction site or existing structure for the purpose of obtaining nonferrous metals. 


Aggravated Criminal Damage punishments

Aggravated Criminal Damage with amount of damage $10,000.00 or more, can be charged as a class four felony. If the amount of damage is $1,500.00 or more but less than $10,000.00, then it can be charged as a class five felony. If the amount is less than $1,500.00, then this would be charged as a class six felony.


Charged with Criminal Damage in Arizona?

If you have been charged with Criminal Damage or Aggravated Criminal Damage you should contact a criminal defense attorney immediately. Jack Litwak has represented numerous clients in both felony and misdemeanor charges throughout the state of Arizona. He has been recognized as one of the top 40 under 40 criminal defense attorneys nationwide by The National Trial Lawyers association. If you would like to set up a consultation click here.