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Indiana’s criminal mischief offenses

On Behalf of | Jun 23, 2021 | Firm News

The word “mischief” conjures up images of playfulness and pranks, but Indiana law uses the term “criminal mischief” to define a number of activities that can result in serious penalties. 

Here are the charges for violating Indiana Code 35-43-1-2 criminal mischief property offenses. 

Class B misdemeanor

The most basic charge of criminal mischief involves damaging or defacing someone else’s property without permission. If the person did not intentionally or knowingly destroy property, but he or she was acting recklessly at the time, then it would not be a defense to claim it was an accident.  

Class A misdemeanor

If the cost of repairing the damage or the value of the lost property exceeds a certain amount (currently $750), then the offense becomes a Class A misdemeanor. Alternately, it is a Class A misdemeanor if the amount of the damage is lower than that, but the property is a school, a building used for religious worship, a community center or an agricultural facility. This includes property adjacent to these types of buildings or personal property that is present at any of these facilities.  

Level 6 felony

Damaging a public record or harming a law enforcement animal such as a police horse or a drug-sniffing dog is a Level 6 felony. Property damage greater than the current limit of $50,000 or damage to utility services that cause a substantial interruption to utility customers is also a felony.  

Regarding the value of the damage to church, school, community or agricultural property, if it exceeds the current limit of $750, it is a Level 6 felony. However, if the damage is $50,000 or more, the offense is a Level 5 felony. 

A judge may order the defendant to clean the property under supervision and make other reparations. Penalties may also include the loss of a driver’s license, jail time, community service and fines.