A malicious mischief charge can vary between a class B felony and a gross misdemeanor, depending on the circumstances of the case. No matter what designation your case falls under, it is important to take the charge seriously. In addition to jail and a fine, a conviction will come with probation, a restitution requirement, and even a no contact order.
Essentially, malicious mischief is when you maliciously and knowingly cause physical damage to the property of another. The degree of malicious mischief is then based on the value of the damage caused, similarly to a theft charge. If the damage is under $750, then you will be facing a third degree malicious mischief charge, which is a gross misdemeanor. If the value is above $750 but less than $5,000, then you will be facing a second degree malicious mischief charge, which is a class B felony. Lastly, if the value is above $5,000, then it will be first degree malicious mischief, which is class B felony. In some instances, the item damaged is what the value of the damage caused is irrelevant.
Contacting an attorney is an important first step when protecting yourself from a criminal charge. In some instances when it comes to malicious mischief cases, timing is especially important and it is vital to get an attorney investigating the case and speaking with the alleged victim as soon as possible, even prior to you being charged with a crime. Give our Everett, Washington office a call for a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.