Under Texas law, destroying someone else’s property can be a serious offense. Crimes involving property damage are frequently charged under the “criminal mischief” statute. Depending on how much the damage is worth, you can be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony. Many of the charges carry significant fines and jail time if you’re convicted.

How do people end up with a criminal mischief charge? Generally, it’s the sort of thing that happens when someone acts on their emotions. Sometimes that means that a person got carried away with their “high spirits” and pulled a foolish prank that ended up causing property damage. More often, however, it happens because someone is angry or upset.

Consider these examples of situations that could lead to criminal mischief charges:

  • A student gets angry at their high school principal or their college professor and purposefully sets off the sprinkler system in their office. The water damage is significant.
  • A customer gets mad about poor service in a coffee shop or store and kicks the glass door of the building so hard that it breaks.
  • A woman finds out that her boyfriend was cheating on her, and she slashes the tires on his car or takes a key to its finish, carving a choice word or two into the paint.
  • A man takes offense at the political sign in his neighbor’s yard, so he spray paints graffiti on the sign (and the neighbor’s garage, for good measure).

If you or a loved one is facing charges of criminal mischief here in Texas, don’t fool yourself in to believing that it’s a minor charge that won’t have long-lasting consequences. Make sure that you get an experienced defense attorney by your side as soon as possible.