Malicious Mischief Law & Legal Definition

Malicious mischief means the intentional destroying or damaging of the personal property of another, from actual ill will or resentment towards its owner or possessor. Even though this is only a trespass at the common law, it is now a misdemeanor in most states. A few make it a felony depending on the nature of the property or its value.

The following is an example of a state statute (Mississippi) defining malicious mischief:

Miss. Code Ann. § 97-17-67 Malicious mischief

(1) Every person who shall maliciously or mischievously destroy, disfigure, or injure, or cause to be destroyed, disfigured, or injured, any property of another, either real or personal, shall be guilty of malicious mischief.

(2) If the value of the property destroyed, disfigured or injured is Five Hundred Dollars ($ 500.00) or less, it shall be a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not more than One Thousand Dollars ($ 1,000.00) or imprisonment not exceeding twelve (12) months in the county jail, or both.

(3) If the value of the property destroyed, disfigured or injured is in excess of Five Hundred Dollars ($ 500.00), it shall be a felony punishable by a fine not exceeding Ten Thousand Dollars ($ 10,000.00) or imprisonment in the Penitentiary not exceeding five (5) years, or both.

(4) In all cases restitution to the victim for all damages shall be ordered. The value of property destroyed, disfigured or injured by the same party as part of a common crime against the same or multiple victims may be aggregated together and if the value exceeds One Thousand Dollars ($ 1,000.00), shall be a felony.

(5) For purposes of this statute, value shall be the cost of repair or replacement of the property damaged or destroyed.

(6) Anyone who by any word, deed or act directly or indirectly urges, aids, abets, suggests or otherwise instills in the mind of another the will to so act shall be considered a principal in the commission of said crime and shall be punished in the same manner.