Criminal Mischief NJSA 2C:17-3, New Jersey

The Law Office of Todd Palumbo is a Newark New jersey criminal defense  law firm that represents those facing criminal mischief charges in the municipal and superior courts. If you have been arrested and charged with criminal mischief, you should be aware that the offense can range from a disorderly persons offense up to a second degree crime. It is advisable to contact a lawyer prior to speaking with police and before any court appearances.

The crime is graded according to the alleged amount of damage or loss caused. Damages of $500 or less will be charged as a disorderly persons offense. Damages in excess of $500 to $2000 is an offense of the fourth degree. $2000 or more is a third degree offense. Please take a moment to review the statute below. If you or someone you know has been arrested and charged with criminal mischief, an attorney at our office will be available 24/7 for a free consultation

2C:17-3 Criminal mischief.

a. Offense defined. A person is guilty of criminal mischief if he:
(1)Purposely or knowingly damages tangible property of another or damages tangible property of another recklessly or negligently in the employment of fire, explosives or other dangerous means listed in subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:17-2; or

(2)Purposely, knowingly or recklessly tampers with tangible property of another so as to endanger person or property.

b. Grading. (1) Criminal mischief is a crime of the third degree if the actor purposely or knowingly causes pecuniary loss of $2,000.00 or more, or a substantial interruption or impairment of public communication, transportation, supply of water, gas or power, or other public service.

(2)Criminal mischief is a crime of the fourth degree if the actor causes pecuniary loss in excess of $500.00. It is a disorderly persons offense if the actor causes pecuniary loss of $500.00 or less.

(3)Criminal mischief is a crime of the third degree if the actor damages, defaces, eradicates, alters, receives, releases or causes the loss of any research property used by the research facility, or otherwise causes physical disruption to the functioning of the research facility. The term “physical disruption” does not include any lawful activity that results from public, governmental, or research facility employee reaction to the disclosure of information about the research facility.

(4)Criminal mischief is a crime of the fourth degree if the actor damages, removes or impairs the operation of any device, including, but not limited to, a sign, signal, light or other equipment, which serves to regulate or ensure the safety of air traffic at any airport, landing field, landing strip, heliport, helistop or any other aviation facility; however, if the damage, removal or impediment of the device recklessly causes bodily injury or damage to property, the actor is guilty of a crime of the third degree, or if it recklessly causes a death, the actor is guilty of a crime of the second degree.

(5)Criminal mischief is a crime of the fourth degree if the actor interferes or tampers with any airport, landing field, landing strip, heliport, helistop or any other aviation facility; however if the interference or tampering with the airport, landing field, landing strip, heliport, helistop or other aviation facility recklessly causes bodily injury or damage to property, the actor is guilty of a crime of the third degree, or if it recklessly causes a death, the actor is guilty of a crime of the second degree.

(6)Criminal mischief is a crime of the third degree if the actor tampers with a grave, crypt, mausoleum or other site where human remains are stored or interred, with the purpose to desecrate, destroy or steal such human remains or any part thereof.

c.A person convicted of an offense of criminal mischief that involves an act of graffiti may, in addition to any other penalty imposed by the court, be required to pay to the owner of the damaged property monetary restitution in the amount of the pecuniary damage caused by the act of graffiti and to perform community service, which shall include removing the graffiti from the property, if appropriate. If community service is ordered, it shall be for either not less than 20 days or not less than the number of days necessary to remove the graffiti from the property.

d. As used in this section:

(1)”Act of graffiti” means the drawing, painting or making of any mark or inscription on public or private real or personal property without the permission of the owner.
(2)”Spray paint” means any paint or pigmented substance that is in an aerosol or similar spray container.