Criminal Mischief Law & Legal Definition


Criminal mischief is a crime governed by state laws, which vary by state. It generally involves any damage, defacing, alteration, or destruction of tangible property with criminal intent.

The following is an example of a state law governing criminal mischief:

Criminal mischief in the fourth degree.

A person is guilty of criminal mischief in the fourth degree when, having no right to do so nor any reasonable ground to believe that he has such right, he:

  1. Intentionally damages property of another person; or
  2. Intentionally particpates in the destruction of an abandoned building as defined in section one thousand nine hundred seventy-one-a of the real property actions and proceedings law; or
  3. Recklessly damages property of another person in an amount exceeding two hundred fifty dollars.

Criminal mischief in the fourth degree is a class A misdemeanor.

S 145.05 Criminal mischief in the third degree.

A person is guilty of criminal mischief in the third degree when, with intent to damage property of another person, and having no right to do so nor any reasonable ground to believe that he has such right, he damages property of another person in an amount exceeding two hundred fifty dollars.

Criminal mischief in the third degree is a class E felony.

S 145.10 Criminal mischief in the second degree.

A person is guilty of criminal mischief in the second degree when with intent to damage property of another person, and having no right to do so nor any reasonable ground to believe that he has such right, he damages property of another person in an amount exceeding one thousand five hundred dollars.

Criminal mischief in the second degree is a class D felony.

S 145.12 Criminal mischief in the first degree.

A person is guilty of criminal mischief in the first degree when with intent to damage property of another person, and having no right to do so nor any reasonable ground to believe that he has such right, he damages property of another person by means of an explosive.

Criminal mischief in the first degree is a class B felony.