The juvenile crime criminal mischief is more serious than you might imagine. Anyone under the age of 18 qualifies as a juvenile in the state of Florida and state laws do have fines and penalties for anyone found guilty of engaging in juvenile criminal mischief.
Florida statutes on criminal mischief define criminal mischief charges as having been committed by a “person.” The age of the perpetrator determines if it is treated by the courts as juvenile criminal mischief.
A person would be formally accused of criminal mischief if they willfully and maliciously injured or damaged by any means any real or personal property belonging to another, including, but not limited to, the placement of graffiti thereon or other acts of vandalism.
The overall cost of damage and repair is a key factor in punishments.
Criminal mischief charges get defined based on the valued damage to the person or property in question. For example, a person charged with criminal mischief that caused less than $200 in damage could be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor.
If the assessed damages exceed $1,000 in value or cause an interruption of a business operation, public communication, transportation, utility supply, or other public services over $1,000 to restore raises the charges to a third-degree felony.
The statute further states: “If a minor commits a delinquent act prohibited under paragraph (a), the parent or legal guardian of the minor is liable along with the minor for payment of the fine. ” This means that the parent or person legally responsible for the minor who caused the criminal mischief will have to take care of the costs.
Another penalty that can be imposed on a minor is the removal of driver’s license and loss of driving privileges, or if not yet eligible to drive, they will not be issued a license later on.
It needs to be stressed, however, that not all juvenile criminal mischief charges can result only in misdemeanor charges because of the minor’s age. The legal system does recognize minors as possessing a separate legal standing compared to adults because of the restrictions placed on a minor’s ability to act in the public.
But because criminal mischief charges operate based on damage value, it’s quite possible for a minor to be charged with a felony count of criminal mischief. Likewise, if the minor happens to be a repeat offender on criminal mischief, they can also be charged with a third-degree felony.
In addition to criminal mischief charges that interrupt business operations, the statutes also spell out specific areas prohibited:
• Houses of Worship
Any willful and malicious damages committed against churches, synagogues, mosques, or any place of worship can be charged with a third-degree felony, regardless of the size, shape, and location of the house of worship in question. The building in question could be a small mosque in a strip mall office building and still count as a house of worship.
• Public Communication Equipment
Any equipment used for the purpose of communication, including phone lines, antennas, and any wiring or additional apparatus, also qualifies as a third-degree felony.
• Commitment Facilities
These would include juvenile detention centers, criminal housing facilities sexually violent and/or predator detention areas, or any other kind of long-term housing or imprisonment complex or structure.
Depending on where the criminal mischief act was done and to what and the amount of damage, a juvenile accused of criminal mischief can be suffer fines, be required to perform community service, have their driving privileges revoked or delayed, have a criminal record, and suffer embarrassment and social ostracization.
If your child has been charged for the juvenile crime criminal mischief, seek our help. We are experienced West Palm Beach juvenile crimes attorneys, ready to vigorously defend your son or daughter against charges of criminal mischief.
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