What is Malicious Mischief?
If you are accused of willfully and maliciously causing physical damage to someone else’s property in Washington State, you may be facing charges of the property crime Malicious Mischief. This can include graffiti, vandalism, or other modes of destruction. It may also include erasing records, information, or other computer-related files, or interference with the use of the files or records.
Malicious Mischief Domestic Violence charges may be filed if you have a current or past domestic relationship with the property owner. If there is a domestic violence designation added to the charge, penalties are enhanced and may include a No Contact Order and loss of gun rights.
Laws and Penalties
Malicious Mischief in Washington is separated into three different degrees, which are determined by the value of the damaged items and carry distinct separate penalties:
Malicious Mischief in the First Degree (RCW 9A.48.070):
- Knowingly and maliciously causing physical damage to property of another in an amount exceeding $5,000; or
- Causing an interruption or impairment of service rendered to the public by physically 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
- Causing 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
*This is Class B Felony and punishable by a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.
Malicious Mischief in the Second Degree (RCW 9A.48.080):
- Knowingly and maliciously causing physical damage to property of another in an amount exceeding $750 but less than $5,000; or
- Creating a substantial risk of interruption or impairment of service rendered to the public by physically 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
*This is Class C Felony and punishable by a maximum of 5 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Malicious Mischief in the Third Degree (RCW 9A.48.090):
- Knowingly and maliciously causing physical damage to property of another in an amount of $750 or less; or
- Writing, painting or drawing any inscription, figure, or mark of any type on a 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
*This is Gross Misdemeanor and punishable by a maximum of 365 days in jail and a $5,000 fine.
Malicious Mischief cases can be complex, especially when connected to a domestic violence situation. In any case, you deserve the best possible defense and we are prepared to give that to you.
Contact us for a Free Consultation. We will help you thoroughly understand your options. We are skilled and experienced at advocating and achieving optimal results, including the potential dismissal or significant reduction of Malicious Mischief charges.