Destroying property can lead to serious consequences for an individual who is subject to a criminal conviction, but also to one who is merely accused of an offense. A conviction could result in harsh penalties, including prison and fines. Allegations of wrongdoing can also cause harm to an individual, blemishing his or her reputation and damaging his or her relationships. It is thus imperative for an accused individual to know the law so that he or she can put forth a criminal defense that he or she finds suitable.
So what is the law on destruction of property? If the destruction is willful and malicious, the law is pretty strict. For example, an individual can be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison and fined either $15,000 or triple the amount of the destruction caused if the accused individual destroyed $20,000 or more worth of property of another individual. Even if the destruction is $1,000, an individual could be subjected to five years in prison and a fine of $10,000 or triple the destruction, whichever is more. These are severe penalties that can cause long-term negative effects on an individual’s life.
It is important to realize that the offenses discussed above are based on willful and malicious acts. This means that, in order to obtain a conviction, a prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused individual intentionally destroyed property. Therefore, accidental destruction may lead to lesser charges with less severe penalties.
An individual who is accused of placing graffiti on property of another, breaking windows, or vandalizing buildings may be in for a legal fight. These individuals may benefit from the competency of a criminal defense attorney who knows how to navigate the criminal justice system and defend against felony charges.
Source: Michigan Legislature, “750.377a Willful and malicious destruction of property; personalty.” accessed on Jan. 31, 2015