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Understanding Criminal Mischief in Ohio

Updated: March 17, 2021
Nicholas G. Gounaris
By Nicholas G. Gounaris

Nicholas G. Gounaris is a skilled trial lawyer and founding partner of Gounaris Abboud law firm. He provides clients of the firm with competent legal representation and focuses his law practice in the areas of DUI Defense, Criminal Defense, Family Law Issues, Federal Criminal Law and Personal Injury cases.

criminal mischief ohio

Criminal Mischief Penalties, Defenses, and Why You Need a Lawyer to Fight for You

Property damage has been a hot topic in the news recently. Usually, property damage crimes do not make the news. However, we have seen hours of news footage and cellphone video of property destruction connected to political and social demonstrations. 

Criminal mischief occurs in various situations that are not politically charged. Police often bring criminal mischief charges along with other charges like domestic assault and battery and resisting arrest. However, criminal mischief in Ohio can also occur in conjunction with computer crimes. 

If you face criminal mischief charges in Ohio, you should understand the penalties you face, the possible defenses you might have, and how an Ohio criminal mischief defense lawyer from Gounaris Abboud could help you.

Criminal Mischief Ohio

Ohio Revised Code 2909.07 (ORC) is the law that establishes criminal mischief as a crime for destroying property. Criminal mischief ORC covers numerous factual scenarios.

ORC criminal mischief imposes criminal liability for moving, defacing, damaging, destroying, or tampering with property without legal excuse. The police may charge a person with criminal mischief in Ohio for:

  • Damaging another person’s property;
  • Damaging personal real estate if there is a mortgage on the property;
  • Destroying real estate after receiving notification of foreclosure proceedings;
  • Using a stink bomb, smoke bomb, tear gas, or other substance that causes public alarm or could harm another;
  • Defacing property boundary markers;
  • Destroying safety devices;
  • Setting fire to personal property situated on the owner’s real property;
  • Hacking into another’s computer system or network and altering the computer; or
  • Releasing a virus or other computer program that damages another’s computer system.

ORC criminal mischief is a broad law that tries to cover as many circumstances as possible. An Ohio criminal defense attorney will explain what the State has to prove against you beyond a reasonable doubt to convict you of criminal mischief under the ORC.

Penalties for Criminal Mischief in Ohio

The possible penalties you face for a conviction of criminal mischief vary depending on the underlying facts. Generally, a conviction for ORC criminal mischief is a third-degree misdemeanor. A person convicted of a third-degree misdemeanor could receive a jail sentence of up to 60 days and a fine of no more than $500. 

The possible penalties for criminal mischief in Ohio increase if the crime involves significant risk of physical harm or a computer crime. In those circumstances, criminal mischief becomes a first-degree misdemeanor. The maximum penalty in Ohio for a conviction of a first-degree misdemeanor is a six-month jail sentence and a fine of up to $1,000. 

Prosecutors could issue felony criminal mischief charges in limited circumstances. Fifth-degree felony charges could be issued for criminal mischief if the acts cause between $1,000 and $10,000 in damage to a computer or any damage to an aircraft or aircraft equipment. 

Moreover, police officers could charge criminal mischief in the fourth degree for damage to a computer system causing more than $10,000. Additionally, a person who damages an occupied airplane faces fourth-degree felony charges.

Defenses to Criminal Mischief in Ohio

A qualified Ohio criminal defense lawyer will analyze your case and discuss your options. Entering a plea bargain to a reduced charge may be a viable option in your case. However, you should be aware that other defenses may apply. 

A thorough Ohio criminal defense lawyer will explore defenses such as:

  • Mistaken identity,
  • Lack of criminal intent, 
  • Accident, and
  • Consent. 

Other defenses may apply if the police violated your constitutional rights. An experienced Ohio attorney who has handled criminal mischief defenses understands best how to protect your rights.

Don’t Let Criminal Mischief in Ohio Ruin Your Future

At Gounaris Abboud, we believe in providing our clients with an aggressive defense to minimize the impact criminal charges have on their lives. Call us today at 937-222-1515 to discuss your criminal mischief charges and how we can help you.

Available 24/7 & Obligation-Free