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.

About Us

About Us

 

We Handle Criminal Defense, DWI, Traffic Tickets, Expunctions, Orders of Nondisclosure, Drivers License Restoration

darrin berlof was named Best Personal Attorney by D Magazine  2009.

 

Darrin Berlof

Darrin Berlof holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in  Criminology and Criminal Justice in addition to a Juris Doctor from Texas Wesleyan University School of Law.  Licensed to practice law in 1995, Mr. Berlof is a member of the State Bar of Texas, Texas Municipal Justice Bar Association, and Dallas Municipal Justice Bar Association.  In 2009, he was a recipient of the prestigious “Best Personal Attorney” award by D Magazine.  Mr. Berlof’s selection for this honor was based on votes that the magazine received from other Dallas attorneys, as well as those received from clients of the firm.

Everett Newton

 

Everett Newton holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and has been awarded a Doctorate of Jurisprudence by the University of Houston School of Law.  Licensed to practice law since 1992, he is a member of the State Bar of Texas as well as several other professional associations, including the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, Texas Municipal Justice Bar Association, Dallas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, and Mensa.  He is also a past president of the Dallas Municipal Justice Bar Association.  For over four years, he hosted “The Everett Newton Show,” a law-oriented talk radio show, on CBS Radio’s KLLI-FM Dallas affiliate, and has appeared on “The Russ Martin Show” since 1997.

 

The Firm

Berlof & Newton, P.C. was formed in March, 2001 by Darrin Berlof and Everett Newton, both of whom were solo practitioners for many years prior the formation of the firm.  By joining forces, both realized that they could combine their experience and skills to better serve the community’s legal needs.  Our attorneys, as well as our staff, have the training, experience, and know-how to get the job done.  Our firm is large enough to undertake your legal matter with confidence, yet small enough to remain personable.  Many of our new clients are referrals that we receive from existing clients, or are referred by other attorneys who know our reputation for excellence within the legal community.

At Berlof & Newton, P.C., we understand that you have a choice when selecting an attorney.  We realize that your legal matter is important to you.  It’s important to us, too.  Whether you are charged with a first degree felony, a class “C” misdemeanor traffic violation, or any other case we might undertake on your behalf, rest assured we will zealously represent your interests.  We hope you will consider choosing us to assist you with your legal matter, and we look forward to having an opportunity to serve you!