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Criminal Damage

A.R.S. §13-1602 Criminal Damage – Phoenix, Arizona

What is Criminal Damage? Criminal Damage in Arizona is defined under the ARS 13-1602 statute. It involves the reckless defacing, damaging, or tampering with someone else’s property, substantially impairing its function or value. Damaging public property or recklessly damaging a utility can also lead to a charge. Parking a vehicle to deprive livestock of access to water falls under this statute as well.

You can face a Criminal Damage charge if you deface, tamper, or destroy property belonging to another person, leading to the item not functioning correctly. Even if repairable, you can still be prosecuted. Drawing, inscribing messages, slogans, signs, or symbols on any public or private property without the owner’s permission is considered under this charge. This includes reasonable labor, material, and equipment costs for repair.

If you’re facing these charges in Arizona, you should contact a criminal defense attorney. These 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 this 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, offering possible legal strategies and keeping you updated about your case.

Here are a few possible defenses to a criminal damage charge:

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

A strong defense starts with analyzing the mental state or Mens Rea. If there is a lack of intent or recklessness, the state cannot prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. Criminal recklessness requires gross deviation from what a reasonable person would observe in the same situation. If your actions were not completely out of the norm, you may have a strong defense. Mistaken identification, third-party defense, or necessity may also play a role.

Penalties for Criminal Damage in Arizona

Penalties depend on the value of the damaged property. Jail time, probation, and fines are possible consequences.

  • Class 4 Felony: Damage over $10,000; fine of $150,000, 3.75 years of prison, and 4 years of probation (first-time offense).
  • Class 4 Felony: Recklessly damaging utility property over $5,000 or causing imminent safety hazard; same punishments as above.
  • Class 5 Felony: Damage between $2,000 and $10,000; fine of $150,000, 2.5 years in prison, and 3 years of probation.
  • Class 6 Felony: Damage between $1,000 and $2,000; fine up to $150,000, 2 years in prison, and 3 years of probation (first-time offender).
  • Class 1 Misdemeanor: Damage more than $250 but less than $1,000; fine up to $2,500, six months in jail, and 3 years of probation.
  • Class 2 Misdemeanor: Damage under $250; maximum 2 years of probation, 4 months in jail, and $750 of fines.

Is Criminal Damage to Property a Felony?

Yes, Criminal Damage can be charged as a felony. Damages above $1,000 but below $2,000 constitute a Class 6 felony. Damages exceeding $10,000 are classified as a Class 4 felony. Damage under $1,000 is a misdemeanor.

What is Aggravated Criminal Damage?

A.R.S. 13-1604 defines Aggravated Criminal Damage as intentionally or recklessly damaging property without the owner’s permission in specific contexts, such as:

  • Places of worship or religious purposes.
  • Schools or educational facilities.
  • Cemeteries or mortuaries.
  • Utility or agricultural infrastructure for obtaining nonferrous metals.

Aggravated Criminal Damage Penalties

  • Class 4 Felony: Damage of $10,000 or more.
  • Class 5 Felony: Damage between $1,500 and $10,000.
  • Class 6 Felony: Damage less than $1,500.

Charged with Criminal Damage in Arizona?

If charged with Criminal Damage or Aggravated Criminal Damage, contact a criminal defense attorney immediately. Jack Litwak has represented numerous clients in both felony and misdemeanor charges throughout Arizona. Recognized as one of the top 40 under 40 criminal defense attorneys nationwide by The National Trial Lawyers association, you can set up a consultation by clicking here.