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MESA PHOENIX CRIMINAL DAMAGE DEFENSE ATTORNEY

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A person can be charged with criminal damage under A.R.S. § 13-1602 by recklessly doing one of the following:

 

  • Defacing or damaging property of another person;

 

  • Tampering with property of another person so as to substantially impair its function or value;

 

  • Tampering with or damaging the property of a utility;

 

  • Parking any vehicle in such a manner as to deprive livestock of access to the only reasonably available water; or

 

  • Drawing or inscribing a message, slogan, sign or symbol that is made on any public or private building, structure or surface, except the ground, and that is made without permission of the owner.

“With criminal damage, it’s all about proof.”

  Lisa Witt

Pursuant to A.R.S. § 13-1602(A)(6), a person commits criminal damage by intentionally tampering with utility property.

 

The penalty for criminal damage varies depending on the dollar amount of the damage.  If the damage is $10,000.00 or more, then it is a Class 4 felony punishable by 1 to 3.75 years in prison for a first time felony offense.  It is also a Class 4 felony if the damage is  $5,000.00 or more because the person recklessly damaged the property of a utility or intentionally tampered with utility property and the damage caused an imminent safety hazard to any person.  If the damage is $2,000.00 or more but less than $10,000.00 or if the damage is inflicted to promote, further or assist any criminal street gang or criminal syndicate with the intent to intimidate and the person has not recklessly defaced or damaged property of another person or has not recklessly tampered with the property of another person, it is a Class 5 felony punishable by .5 to 2.5 years in prison for a first time felony offense.  Damage of more than $1,000.00 but less than $2,000.00 is a Class 6 felony punishable by .33 years to 2 years in prison for a first time felony offense.  If the damage is more than $250.00 but less than $1,000.00, criminal damage is a Class 1 misdemeanor punishable by six months in jail.  In all other cases, criminal damage is a Class 2 misdemeanor punishable by four months in jail.

 

A.R.S. §13-1604 defines aggravated criminal damage as a person intentionally or recklessly without the express permission of the owner does the following:

“What don’t you understand about “beyond a reasonable doubt”?”  Lisa Witt

  • Defacing, damaging or in any way changing the appearance of any building, structure, personal property or place used for worship or any religious purpose;

 

  • Defacing or damaging any building, structure or place used as a school or as an educational facility;

 

  • Defacing, damaging or tampering with any cemetery, mortuary or personal property of the cemetery or mortuary or other facility used for the purpose of burial or memorializing the dead;

 

  • Defacing, damaging or tampering with any utility or agricultural infrastructure or property, construction site or existing structure for the purpose of obtaining nonferrous metals.

 

Aggravated criminal damage in the amount of $10,000.00 or more is punishable as a Class 4 felony (1 to 3.75 years in prison) for the first three bullet points listed above and a Class 3 felony (2 to 8.75 years in prison) for the last bullet point listed above.  If the damage is $1,500.00 or more but less than $10,000.00, aggravated criminal damage is punishable as a Class 5 felony (.5 to 2.5 years in prison) for the first three bullet points and as a Class 4 felony (1 to 3.75 years in prison) for the last bullet point.  In all other cases, aggravated criminal damage is a Class 6 felony (.33 years to 2 years in prison) for the first three bullet points and a Class 5 felony (.5 to 2.5 years in prison) for the last bullet point.

DEFENSES FOR CRIMINAL DAMAGE CHARGES IN ARIZONA

The consequences for a charge of criminal damage or aggravated criminal damage are very fact-dependent.  Lisa will thoroughly evaluate your case and determine if one or more of the following potential defense strategies apply:

 

  • Act described is not criminal damage or aggravated criminal damage:  The act described in the indictment may not fit the statutory definition of criminal damage or aggravated criminal damage.

 

  • No intent to commit criminal damage or aggravated criminal damage: You may not have the intent necessary for the State to prove criminal damage or aggravated criminal damage beyond a reasonable doubt.

  • State’s witnesses are mistaken or lying about what happened.

  • Eyewitnesses:  You may have eyewitnesses who can testify about what happened.

  • Good character:  You may have witnesses who can testify that you have a good character.

  • Implausibility of State’s story:  The State’s story may be implausible based on the timeline or other evidence.

 

  • Mistaken identity:  Someone else committed the criminal damage or aggravated criminal damage and you were mistakenly identified as the suspect.

 

  • Dollar amount of damage is incorrect:  The State may have incorrectly computed the dollar amount of the criminal damage or aggravated criminal damage.

 

  • Sentencing enhancements not applicable:  Sentencing enhancements such as dangerous nature of the offense, repetitive nature of the offense and/or crime committed while on probation or release do not necessarily apply just because the State claims that they do. 

 

  • Missing or tainted evidence:  Sometimes the State’s evidence is missing or tainted. 

 

  • Exclusion of State’s evidence:  The State may have violated your constitutional rights or otherwise acted illegally in obtaining evidence or your confession.

 

  • Reduction in number of counts: Each count of your indictment should concern a separate criminal act or victim and not  be part of the same criminal damage or aggravated criminal damage. 

 

  • Law enforcement misconduct:  There may be law enforcement misconduct in investigating the charge, collecting the evidence, interviewing the victim and witnesses, or obtaining your confession.

 

  • Insufficiency of State’s evidence:  The State may have insufficient evidence to prove criminal damage or aggravated criminal damage beyond a reasonable doubt.

 

  • Prosecutorial misconduct:  There may be prosecutorial misconduct in disclosing the evidence, interviewing victims and witnesses, and in the general course of your case.

 

  • Possible other defenses:  Depending on the unique facts of your case, there may be other possible defenses.  Lisa thinks outside the box when defending your case so she may come up with a novel defense that no other attorney has thought of before.

 

If you or a loved one is facing a charge of criminal damage or aggravated criminal damage, it’s very important to hire a thorough, intelligent and passionate defense attorney who will fight for you as soon as possible.  Call LisaLaw, LLC or fill out the on-line form for a free case review.

Lisa Witt is a Mesa/Phoenix, Arizona criminal damage defense attorney serving clients facing charges in the East Valley, West Valley, Maricopa County, Scottsdale, Tempe, Chandler, Fountain Hills, Apache Junction, Gold Canyon, Queen Creek, Gilbert, Casa Grande, Surprise, Goodyear, Buckeye, Youngtown, Ahwatukee, Avondale, Tolleson.

 
Phoenix Criminal Defense Lawyer