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What Is A Criminal Property Damage Offense?

In Arizona, the crime of criminal damage occurs when a person either intentionally or recklessly damages or defaces the property of another. Depending on the value of the property damaged, the prosecution pursues either felony or misdemeanor charges.

At Lane, Hupp, & Crowley, PLC, our attorneys have almost 40 years of combined experience in advocating for the rights of individuals across the greater Phoenix area and Arizona.

Classifications And Penalties Depend On The Extent Of The Damage

The level of offense for a charge of criminal damage is based on the value of the property.

Felony Offenses

  • Damage of $10,000 or damage of $5,000 or more to a public utility = up to a four-year prison term, four years of probation and a fine of $150,000
  • Damage of $2,000 or more, but less than $10,000 = up to a 2.5-year prison term, three years of probation and a fine of $150,000
  • Damage of $1,000 or more, but less than $2,000 = up to two years in prison, three years of probation and a fine of $150,000

Misdemeanor Offenses

  • Damage of more than $250, but less than $1,000 = up to six months in jail, three years of probation and a fine of $2,500
  • Damage of $250 or less = up to four months in jail, two years of probation and a fine of $750

Damage Caused By Graffiti, Trespassing, Burglary Or Arson

Graffiti is one of the most common reasons behind criminal damage charges. Courts will include labor costs, material costs and costs associated with the equipment used to get rid of the graffiti to determine damages. Jail time is also likely for these offenses. Other related offenses can include trespassing, burglary and arson.

Driving While Impaired

Another common type of criminal damage occurs when a person is driving while impaired and causes an accident. For example, after a driver runs over a stop sign, the prosecutor could argue that the driver’s reckless actions caused the damage to the stop sign.

Domestic Violence-Related Criminal Damage Charges

Criminal damage is also often charged as a domestic violence offense. In these situations, the defendant partially owns the damaged property. If a husband breaks a dish during an argument, he could face criminal damage charges because the wife also owns the dish.

Consult With Our Skilled Legal Team

Many defenses are possible — a violation of your Miranda rights, a lack of intent to cause damage and more. Get an experienced lawyer on your side to fight for you.

Contact our Phoenix office to schedule a free initial consultation. Call 480-498-5290 or send us an email. Payment plans and credit cards are accepted.