While the laws against criminal mischief vary by state, they generally refer to the knowing damage of property and are sometimes referred to as vandalism laws. Criminal mischief can range from defacing property with graffiti to the actual destruction of property. However, if a situation involves the actual taking of property, then it would likely move from criminal mischief to theft.
In Colorado criminal mischief occurs where a person knowingly damages the real or personal property of another person. This can include property owned by the person committing the damage if it is jointly owned with someone else. It's important to note that the law does not require the "intentional" damaging of property, so a person need not act with the specific purpose to damage property. However, so long as they knew that property damage would result, this is sufficient for criminal mischief to apply.
Colorado Criminal Mischief Laws At A Glance
For more information on criminal mischief laws in Colorado, consult the chart below.
|Penalties and Sentences
The sentences and penalties for criminal mischief are based on the value of the property involved, as reflected below:
- Less than $300: Class 3 Misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months in jail and up to $750 in fines
- Between $300 and $750: Class 2 Misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in prison and up to $1,000 in fines
- Between $750 and $1,000: Class 1 Misdemeanor punishable by up to 1.5 years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines
- Between $1,000 and $5,000: Class 6 Felony punishable by up to 1.5 years in prison and up to $100,000 in fines
- Between $5,000 and $20,000: Class 5 Felony punishable by up to 3 years in prison and up to $100,000 in fines
- Between $20,000 and $100,000: Class 4 Felony punishable by up to 6 years in prison and up to $500,000 in fines
- Between $100,000 and $1 Million: Class 3 Felony punishable by up to 12 years in prison and up to $750,000 in fines
- Over $1 Million: Class 2 Felony punishable by up to 24 years in prison and up to $1 million in fines
- Execution of public duty
- Choice of evils/justification
- Involuntary Intoxication
- Impaired mental condition
- Age (no child under 10 can be guilty of any criminal offense)
Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Colorado Criminal Mischief Laws: Additional Resources
Facing Criminal Mischief Charges? An Attorney Can Help
Colorado criminal mischief laws are fairly clear-cut as they only require the knowing destruction of another's property. However, there's a wide range of penalties for criminal mischief which are determined by the value of the property involved. This is something that can be disputed at trial and could mean the difference between a small fine and several years in prison. If you're facing criminal mischief charges, having an experienced Colorado criminal defense lawyer at your side can make a world of difference.