Dallas Criminal Mischief Lawyer

About Us

Criminal mischief is a criminal charge you could be facing, if you’re accused of destroying another person’s property.  Likewise, you can be charged with criminal mischief if it’s alleged that your conduct has caused someone else’s property to suffer a reduction in value.  Criminal mischief can be either a felony or misdemeanor, depending upon the alleged loss of value to the item you’re alleged to have damaged or destroyed.  If the loss alleged is less than $50, you can be charged with class C misdemeanor criminal mischief, which is punishable by a fine only of up to $500 (i.e., you cannot receive jail time on a class C misdemeanor criminal mischief charge).  If the alleged loss is between $0 and $500,

You can be charged with criminal mischief, if it’s alleged that you’ve destroyed someone else’s property, or engaged in conduct that has somehow reduced its value.  The seriousness of any given allegation of criminal mischief is determined, in part, by the extent to which you’re alleged to have reduced the value of the damaged property.  Generally speaking, criminal mischief can be a Class C misdemeanor, punishable only by a fine of up to $500, if the loss in value is less than $50.  However,if the amount of loss is alleged to be greater than $200,000, criminal mischief can also be a first degree felony, with a penalty range of 5 to 99 years or life in prison, and up to a $10,000 fine.  In certain cases, as indicated in the statute referenced below, slightly different rules as to valuation apply (e.g., if an explosive device was used).

If you’ve been arrested or charged with criminal mischief, you need experienced legal counsel.  You should call Berlof & Newton, P.C.  We are seasoned criminal defense lawyers who want to help you with your case.  Free consultation.  Call our attorneys now at 214.827.2800, or contact one of our lawyers directly using the “Get Legal Help Now!” form in the left margin of this web page.  Se habla español.

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Texas Penal Code Section 28.03.  CRIMINAL MISCHIEF.(a) A person commits an offense if, without the effective consent of the owner:

(1)  he intentionally or knowingly damages or destroys the tangible property of the owner;

(2)  he intentionally or knowingly tampers with the tangible property of the owner and causes pecuniary loss or substantial inconvenience to the owner or a third person; or

(3)  he intentionally or knowingly makes markings, including inscriptions, slogans, drawings, or paintings, on the tangible property of the owner.

(b)  Except as provided by Subsections (f) and (h), an offense under this section is:

(1)  a Class C misdemeanor if:

(A)  the amount of pecuniary loss is less than $50; or

(B)  except as provided in Subdivision (3)(A) or (3)(B), it causes substantial inconvenience to others;

(2)  a Class B misdemeanor if the amount of pecuniary loss is $50 or more but less than $500;

(3)  a Class A misdemeanor if:

(A)  the amount of pecuniary loss is  $500 or more but less than $1,500; or

(B)  the actor causes in whole or in part impairment or interruption of any public water supply, or causes to be diverted in whole, in part, or in any manner, including installation or removal of any device for any such purpose, any public water supply, regardless of the amount of the pecuniary loss;

(4)  a state jail felony if the amount of pecuniary loss is:

(A)  $1,500 or more but less than $20,000;

(B)  less than $1,500, if the property damaged or destroyed is a habitation and if the damage or destruction is caused by a firearm or explosive weapon;

(C)  less than $1,500, if the property was a fence used for the production or containment of:

(i)  cattle, bison, horses, sheep, swine, goats, exotic livestock, or exotic poultry; or

(ii)  game animals as that term is defined by Section 63.001, Parks and Wildlife Code; or

(D)  less than $20,000 and the actor causes wholly or partly impairment or interruption of public communications, public transportation, public gas or power supply, or other public service, or causes to be diverted wholly, partly, or in any manner, including installation or removal of any device for any such purpose, any public communications or public gas or power supply;

(5)  a felony of the third degree if the amount of the pecuniary loss is $20,000 or more but less than $100,000;

(6)  a felony of the second degree if the amount of pecuniary loss is $100,000 or more but less than $200,000; or

(7)  a felony of the first degree if the amount of pecuniary loss is $200,000 or more.

(c)  For the purposes of this section, it shall be presumed that a person who is receiving the economic benefit of public communications, public water, gas, or power supply, has knowingly tampered with the tangible property of the owner if the communication or supply has been:

(1)  diverted from passing through a metering device; or

(2)  prevented from being correctly registered by a metering device; or

(3)  activated by any device installed to obtain public communications, public water, gas, or power supply without a metering device.

(d)  The terms “public communication, public transportation, public gas or power supply, or other public service” and “public water supply” shall mean, refer to, and include any such services subject to regulation by the Public Utility Commission of Texas, the Railroad Commission of Texas, or the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission or any such services enfranchised by the State of Texas or any political subdivision thereof.

(e)  When more than one item of tangible property, belonging to one or more owners, is damaged, destroyed, or tampered with in violation of this section pursuant to one scheme or continuing course of conduct, the conduct may be considered as one offense, and the amounts of pecuniary loss to property resulting from the damage to, destruction of, or tampering with the property may be aggregated in determining the grade of the offense.

(f)  An offense under this section is a state jail felony if the damage or destruction is inflicted on a place of worship or human burial, a public monument, or a community center that provides medical, social, or educational programs and the amount of the pecuniary loss to real property or to tangible personal property is less than $20,000.

(g)  In this section:

(1)  “Explosive weapon” means any explosive or incendiary device that is designed, made, or adapted for the purpose of inflicting serious bodily injury, death, or substantial property damage, or for the principal purpose of causing such a loud report as to cause undue public alarm or terror, and includes:

(A)  an explosive or incendiary bomb, grenade, rocket, and mine;

(B)  a device designed, made, or adapted for delivering or shooting an explosive weapon; and

(C)  a device designed, made, or adapted to start a fire in a time-delayed manner.

(2)  “Firearm” has the meaning assigned by Section 46.01.

(3)  “Institution of higher education” has the meaning assigned by Section 61.003, Education Code.

(4)  “Aluminum wiring” means insulated or noninsulated wire or cable that consists of at least 50 percent aluminum, including any tubing or conduit attached to the wire or cable.

(5)  “Bronze wiring” means insulated or noninsulated wire or cable that consists of at least 50 percent bronze, including any tubing or conduit attached to the wire or cable.

(6)  “Copper wiring” means insulated or noninsulated wire or cable that consists of at least 50 percent copper, including any tubing or conduit attached to the wire or cable.

(7)  “Transportation communications equipment” means:

(A)  an official traffic-control device, railroad sign or signal, or traffic-control signal, as those terms are defined by Section 541.304, Transportation Code; or

(B)  a sign, signal, or device erected by a railroad, public body, or public officer to direct the movement of a railroad train, as defined by Section 541.202, Transportation Code.

(8)  “Transportation communications device” means any item attached to transportation communications equipment, including aluminum wiring, bronze wiring, and copper wiring.

(h)  An offense under this section is a state jail felony if the amount of the pecuniary loss to real property or to tangible personal property is $1,500 or more but less than $20,000 and the damage or destruction is inflicted on a public or private elementary school, secondary school, or institution of higher education.

(i)  Notwithstanding Subsection (b), an offense under this section is a felony of the first degree if the property is livestock and the damage is caused by introducing bovine spongiform encephalopathy, commonly known as mad cow disease, or a disease described by Section 161.041(a), Agriculture Code. In this subsection, “livestock” has the meaning assigned by Section 161.001, Agriculture Code.

(j)  Notwithstanding Subsection (b), an offense under this section is a felony of the third degree if:

(1)  the tangible property damaged, destroyed, or tampered with is transportation communications equipment or a transportation communications device; and

(2)  the amount of the pecuniary loss to the tangible property is less than $100,000.

Acts 1973, 63rd Leg., p. 883, ch. 399, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1974. Amended by Acts 1981, 67th Leg., p. 66, ch. 29, Sec. 1, eff. Aug. 31, 1981; Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 2917, ch. 497, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1983; Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 352, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985; Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 559, Sec. 1, eff. June 14, 1989; Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 1253, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989; Acts 1989, 71st Leg., 1st C.S., ch. 42, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989; Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 900, Sec. 1.01, eff. Sept. 1, 1994; Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 76, Sec. 11.280, eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1083, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 686, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 747, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2001; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 976, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 2001; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1280, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Amended by:

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 690, Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2007.

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 690, Sec. 2, eff. September 1, 2007.

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 638, Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2009.

Dallas Bad Check Attorney

Dallas Attorney Blog

Have you written a bad check?  If you’ve written a check that was returned due to insufficient funds, you could be criminally charged with the offense of issuance of a bad check.  In Texas, issuance of a bad check is a class C misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to a $500 fine.  In order for someone to file an issuance of bad check charge against you,  they will file a complaint with a justice of the peace court.  By law, they are required to send you notice, via certified mail, to your last known address, informing you that they hold a hot check, allegedly written by you, that was returned by the bank for insufficient funds.   If you fail to respond, a criminal charge for issuance of a bad check can be filed against you, and a warrant issued for your arrest.  Frequently, those being charged with issuance of a bad check are unaware that charges have been filed, and a warrant issued.  Many times, this occurs because the “last known address” of the defendant isn’t where they actually reside (e.g., they’ve moved).  As a result, the defendant may not receive notice that an issuance of bad check case is pending. and may not learn of the arrest warrant that’s been issued… until a constable comes to their home or office to serve the warrant, or they get pulled over in a routine traffic stop and are taken to jail. If a warrant has been issued for your arrest, due to a bad check you’ve allegedly written, it’s possible to avoid being arrested.  An attorney can post an attorney bond on your behalf, thereby removing the warrant without your having to go to jail.  Once the warrant is removed, the case is set for a court date, at which an attorney can represent you.  Many times, it’s possible to obtain a dismissal of the case, if restitution on the check is made.  If the check was forged, a handwriting analysis can be undertaken, and potentially eliminate the defendant as the writer of the check.  Also, if it appears, after an analysis of the state’s evidence, that the prosecutor may be unable to prove the case, beyond a reasonable doubt, against the defendant, it may be possible to obtain a dismissal on that basis, as well.  If you have an outstanding hot check charge, the worst thing you can do is to sit idly by, and hope that it simply goes away.  It won’t! Take action, before it’s too late.

Dallas Jail Release Lawyer

Dallas Attorney Blog

If someone you know is in in jail, you may be able to seek their release by contacting a Dallas jail release lawyer. In certain cases, the bond amount for someone in jail may seem unattainably high. For example, in Dallas County, if you’re arrested on a felony probation violation warrant, you may be subject to a “no bond” warrant. As the name suggests, a “no bond” warrant means that Continue reading

Great Texas Warrant Roundup of 2016

Dallas Attorney Blog

The Great Texas Warrant of Roundup of 2016 is slated to begin next month.  Once underway, police agencies throughout the state will undertake a concerted effort to arrest you, if you have pending warrants.  These agencies include city police departments, constables, deputy sheriffs, and warrant officers.  The Great Texas Warrant Roundup of 2016 is a coordinated effort among these various law enforcement agencies to arrest those with active arrest warrant of any type.  Whether you have Continue reading

Dallas Order of Non-disclosure Lawyer

Dallas Attorney Blog

If you’ve successfully completed deferred adjudication probation, you may be eligible for an order of non-disclosure.  Once granted by the court, an order of non-disclosure seals your case from public view.  When your case is sealed, potential employers won’t be able to see any criminal history information associated with this arrest or charge (though this information is still available to law enforcement, and certain governmental agencies).

Let Us Represent You in Municipal Court

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Municipal and JP Court Appearances

Berlof and Newton P.C. represents people in issues involving municipal courts and Justice of the Peace courts. We provide affordable legal help with traffic tickets and much more.

Courts We Serve

We represent people in the following courts;

  • Addison
  • Allen
  • Balch Springs
  • Carrollton
  • Cedar Hill
  • Coppell
  • Dallas County Justice of the Peace Courts
  • Desoto
  • Duncanville
  • Frisco
  • Grand Prairie
  • Highland Park
  • Lancaster
  • Rowlett
  • Seagoville
  • University Park
  • Wilmer

 

 

Texas Surcharges

Dallas Attorney Blog

If you’ve received a traffic citation, you may have more than just the fine to worry about.  Traffic ticket convictions can lead to Texas surcharges.  If you’re convicted of a traffic ticket, the Texas Department of Public Safety may impose Texas surcharge fees, in addition to any fines you may be ordered to pay to the court.  At the time the court fines are levied, no one will tell you about the pending surcharges.  Rather, at a later time, you will receive a letter from the state, indicating that these Texas surcharge fees are

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Burglary Attorney in Dallas

Dallas Attorney Blog

Have you been charged with burglary?  In Texas, the criminal offense of burglary is considered a second degree felony.  As such, it carries a penalty range of two to twenty years in state prison, and a find of up to $10,000.  However, if it’s alleged that the burglary was undertaken in an effort to commit another felony offense (e.g., aggravated assault), under these facts, the burglary charge becomes a first degree felony.  For first degree felony burglary offenses, the penalty range is

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Marijuana possession attorney

Dallas Attorney Blog

Have you been arrested for possession of marijuana?  Even though many states have legalized marijuana possession, either for medicinal or recreational purposes, you can’t lawfully possess marijuana in Texas for any reason.  If you’re alleged to possess a “usable quantity” of marijuana, two ounces or less, you can be arrested and charged with class B misdemeanor possession of marijuana, which carries a penalty range of up to

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