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Malicious Mischief

Criminal Defense Attorneys

A criminal charge for Malicious Mischief involves the destruction of another person's property.

The degree or seriousness level that a person could be charged in Washington deals mainly with the monetary value of the damage caused. The other scenarios that could raise the degree or seriousness lever charged deal with the type of property that was damaged, or whether the property was government property or an aircraft.

A criminal charge of malicious mischief can range from a gross misdemeanor up to a Class B felony. Besides jail or prison time, an individual found guilty of malicious mischief will face large fines, restitution payments for the damage, and possibly treatment if alcohol, drugs, or mental health are involved or even anger management classes. Having a qualified criminal defense attorney fighting for you is important to protect not just your liberty but also the future impact a conviction for this charge can have on you.

If you are being investigated for property damage or have been charged with malicious mischief give us a call today to set up a free initial consultation. We can be reached at 253-383-3328.


Malicious Mischief Attorney

Physical damage defined

RCW 9A.48.100

A Malicious mischief criminal charge is about the damage to someone else's property. Thus, when creating the statute, the legislature created a specific definition for "physical damage" to be used when applying the criminal statutes. That definition is found in RCW 9A.48.100, and is provided below.

"Physical damage," in addition to its ordinary meaning, shall include:

  • The total or partial alteration, damage, obliteration, or erasure of records, information, data, computer programs, or their computer representations, which are recorded for use in computers or the impairment, interruption, or interference with the use of such records, information, data, or computer programs, or the impairment, interruption, or interference with the use of any computer or services provided by computers.
  • Any diminution in the value of any property as the consequence of an act and the cost to repair any physical damage

In addition, the legislature added a specific fact pattern that can increase the seriousness level of the criminal charge based on the aggregated or combined value of the physical damage.

  • If more than one item of property is physically damaged as a result of a common scheme or plan by a person and the physical damage to the property would, when considered separately, constitute mischief in the third degree because of value, then the value of the damages may be aggregated in one count. If the sum of the value of all the physical damages exceeds two hundred fifty dollars, the defendant may be charged with and convicted of malicious mischief in the second degree.

Malicious mischief in the first degree

RCW 9A.48.070: Malicious Mischief in the First Degree is a Class B felony.

The maximum sentence for a conviction of a Class B felony is 10 years in a state correctional facility (prison), and/or a $20,000 fine.

A person is guilty of malicious mischief in the first degree if he or she knowingly and maliciously:

  • Causes physical damage to the property of another in an amount exceeding $5,000;
  • Causes an interruption or impairment of service rendered to the public by physically damaging or tampering with an emergency vehicle or property of the state, a political subdivision thereof, or a public utility or mode of public transportation, power, or communication; or
  • Causes an impairment of the safety, efficiency, or operation of an aircraft by physically damaging or tampering with the aircraft or aircraft equipment, fuel, lubricant, or parts. 

Malicious mischief in the second degree

RCW 9A.48.080: Malicious Mischief in the Second Degree is a Class C felony.

The maximum sentence for a conviction of a Class C felony is 5 years in a state correctional facility (prison), and/or a $10,000 fine.

A person is guilty of malicious mischief in the second degree if he or she knowingly and maliciously:

  • Causes physical damage to the property of another in an amount exceeding $750; or
  • Creates a substantial risk of interruption or impairment of service rendered to the public, by physically damaging or tampering with an emergency vehicle or property of the state, a political subdivision thereof, or a public utility or mode of public transportation, power, or communication. 

Malicious mischief in the third degree

RCW 9A.48.090: Malicious Mischief in the third degree is a gross misdemeanor.

The maximum sentence for a conviction of a gross misdemeanor is 364 days in a county correctional facility (jail), and/or a $5,000 fine.

A person is guilty of malicious mischief in the third degree if he or she:

  • Knowingly and maliciously causes physical damage to the property of another, under circumstances not amounting to malicious mischief in the first or second degree; or
  • Writes, paints, or draws any inscription, figure, or mark of any type on any public or private building or other structure or any real or personal property owned by any other person unless the person has obtained the express permission of the owner or operator of the property, under circumstances not amounting to malicious mischief in the first or second degree.

Malicious mischief criminal charges come with there own unique circumstances because there is almost always a victim that is likely not happy with you, the defendant. This can way heavily on both prosecutors and judges when there is a vocal victim wanting what they believe to be justice. In addition, if convicted, you will face not only fines, but also likely restitution to cover the monetary loss of the property of the victim. Hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney will give you your best chance to obtain a favorable result and mitigate any negative consequences to your criminal record, your freedom, and liability. Every case is unique and thus the result of every case will be different but having a local defense attorney fighting for you should be your first step in defending any criminal charge. If you need assistance with a malicious mischief criminal charge please call our office at 253-383-3328 and schedule a free consultation to speak with one the top rated criminal defense attorneys at South Sound Law Group

Contact Us

We are located next to the building that holds the Pierce County District Court, Pierce County Superior Court, and the Tacoma Municipal Court. We have free client parking in the alley located between South G St. and Yakima Ave. If you have any trouble finding our location or have a question about scheduling an appointment give us a call at 253-383-3328.

705 South 9th St
Ste 204

Tacoma, WA 98405
253-383-3328
Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri: 08:30am - 05:00pm

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