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CRS 18-4-501

Colorado Criminal Mischief

Colorado statute CRS 18-4-501—known as criminal mischief—occurs when a person knowingly and intentionally causes damage to someone else’s property, whether it’s personal property or real estate. This includes any property owned jointly between the person that caused the damage and someone else.

Let’s face it. Life happens.

No one wants to get in trouble, but when it happens, what do you do?

If you have been arrested or charged with a crime, the best decision you can make is to
hire a good criminal defense attorney. With the right defense lawyer in your corner, you
will be advised and guided towards the best outcome for your case.

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Penalties for Criminal Mischief in Colorado

Value of the Damage Caused Classification Penalty
Under $300 Petty Offense Maximum of $300 in fines and/or 10 days in jail
Over $300 but under $1,000 Class 2 Misdemeanor Maximum of $750 in fines and/or 120 days in jail
Over $1,000 but under $2,000 Class 1 Misdemeanor Maximum of $1,000 in fines and/or 364 days in jail
Over $2,000 but under $5,000 Class 6 Felony Fines between $1,000 and $100,000 and/or 1–1.5 years in prison

 

Over 5,000 but under $20,000

 

 

 

Class 5 Felony Fines between $1,000 and $100,000 and/or 1–3 years in prison
Over $20,000 but under $100,000 Class 4 Felony Fines between $2,000 and $500,000 and/or 2–6 years in prison
Over $100,000 but under $1 million Class 3 Felony Fines between $3,000 and $750,000 and/or 4–12 years in prison
$1 million or more Class 2 Felony Fines between $5,000 and $1 million and/or 8–24 years in prison
(Colo. Rev. Stat. § § 18-3-202, 18-3-203, 18-1.3-401, 18-1.3-406, 18-1.3-501.)    

Here Is What The Prosecution Must Prove to Convict You

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The elements of the crime of possession of burglary tools are:

  1. That the defendant,
  2.  in the State of Colorado, at or about the date and place charged,
  3. knowingly,
  4. damaged the real or personal property of one or more other persons, including property owned by the defendant jointly with another person or property owned by the defendant in which, at the time of the damage, another person had a possessory or proprietary interest,
  5. in the course of a single criminal episode.
  6. If there is an affirmative defense raised, the prosecution must also prove that the defendant’s conduct was not legally authorized by the affirmative defense.

 

Possible Defenses for Criminal Mischief in Colorado

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The prosecution has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty of criminal mischief.

To do this, prosecutors must prove these elements:

  1. You damaged the property in question.
  2. The property damaged belonged to another person.
  3. You caused the damage to the other person’s property deliberately

The best available defenses for criminal mischief in Colorado then are:

  • The defendant did not knowingly or intentionally cause the damage, and it was, in fact, an accident
  • The defendant damaged the property in a reasonable act of self-defense
  • The defendant was misidentified, and they were not the person that damaged the property
  • The defendant is a victim of a false accusation and did not damage the property in question
  • The defendant had nothing to do with the damage caused, or the damage was incurred previously to the defendant’s involvement

Colorado Revised Statutes, CRS 18-4-501:

18-4-501. Criminal mischief.

(1) A person commits criminal mischief when he or she knowingly damages the real or personal property of one or more other persons, including property owned by the person jointly with another person or property owned by the person in which another person has a possessory or proprietary interest, in the course of a single criminal episode.

(2) and (3) Repealed.

(4) Criminal mischief is:

(a) A class 3 misdemeanor when the aggregate damage to the real or personal property is less than three hundred dollars;

(b) A class 2 misdemeanor when the aggregate damage to the real or personal property is three hundred dollars or more but less than seven hundred fifty dollars;

(c) A class 1 misdemeanor when the aggregate damage to the real or personal property is seven hundred fifty dollars or more but less than one thousand dollars;

(d) A class 6 felony when the aggregate damage to the real or personal property is one thousand dollars or more but less than five thousand dollars;

(e) A class 5 felony when the aggregate damage to the real or personal property is five thousand dollars or more but less than twenty thousand dollars;

(f) A class 4 felony when the aggregate damage to the real or personal property is twenty thousand dollars or more but less than one hundred thousand dollars;

(g) A class 3 felony when the aggregate damage to the real or personal property is one hundred thousand dollars or more but less than one million dollars; and

(h) A class 2 felony when the aggregate damage to the real or personal property is one million dollars or more.

Have you been charged or arrested for criminal mischief in Colorado Springs or El Paso County?

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Criminal mischief can come with significant penalties, including hefty fines, jail time, and even prison, depending on the severity of the damage caused. It’s the prosecution’s responsibility to convince the jury that you intentionally damaged another person’s property. A criminal mischief conviction requires that a jury finds you guilty of the charge beyond a reasonable doubt. There are quite a few possible defenses for this criminal charge, and they all aim to prove that you did not cause the damage, didn’t cause the damage willfully, or had reasonable cause to damage the property. To defend yourself against an accusation of criminal mischief, you need to understand how Colorado law applies to the charge and what the District Attorney in Colorado Springs or El Paso County needs to prove according to the law.

Frequently Asked Questions

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What are some examples of criminal mischief in Colorado?

Some common examples of Colorado criminal mischief include:

  • Vandalism
  • Graffiti
  • Property defacement
  • Tampering with fire alarms, emergency exits, or utility meters
  • Breaking any kind of object
  • Punching a wall

What steps should I take when facing criminal mischief charges?

If you’ve been arrested for criminal mischief, the most important thing you can do is hire a Colorado Springs Criminal Defense Attorney. Be sure to request that your lawyer be present before any police questioning occurs.

What are the benefits of hiring an attorney for Colorado criminal mischief charges?

Criminal defense attorneys benefit you in several ways after a criminal mischief arrest. A lawyer will be an expert in Colorado criminal law and be able to achieve the best possible outcome for your case. They’ll advocate for your rights and may even be able to negotiate a lesser sentence or get the charges dismissed altogether, depending on the case.

Areas Served

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El Paso County

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Arapahoe County

  • Centennial
  • Englewood
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Pueblo County

Teller County

Fremont County

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