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Iowa Criminal Defense Lawyer

Criminal Mischief


Criminal mischief is likely the most frequently prosecuted property crime. This is because of its general nature. Its commonness, however, does not make the charges any less serious.

Facing charges of any sort can be an uncomfortable and stressful experience. If you are facing the potential of jail time for something you did or something you are accused of doing, it can be a very trying point in your life.

Perhaps the incident surrounding your charges was an accident. It could be that you acted in anger, however, and now feel regret for your actions.

If you admit your mistake and need help figuring out the best way to handle your case with the most positive outcome, our attorneys can help.

Likewise, if you feel like you are being charged in error, you need a defense lawyer willing to work tirelessly on your behalf.

Iowa Criminal Mischief Laws

According to Chapter 716 of the Iowa Criminal Code, criminal mischief is defined as intentionally damaging, defacing, altering, or destroying property when you have no right to do so.

In most circumstances, the property in question belongs to someone else.

The actual charge and potential sentence you face depends on the value of the damage. The dollar amount used is based on the “cost to replace, repair, or restore” the property in question.

First Degree Criminal Mischief

First degree criminal mischief is the most serious of these charges and applies to circumstances where the value of damage is more than $10,000 or the damage is intended to cause impairment to public utilities.

This offense is considered a Class C felony and carries with it a potential sentence of 10 years in prison and $10,000 in fines.

Second Degree Criminal Mischief

Second degree criminal mischief is the charge levied when the damage is valued at more than $1,000 but less than $10,000. This charge is considered a Class D felony and carries a potential sentence of 5 years in prison and fines reaching $7,500.

Third Degree Criminal Mischief

Third degree criminal mischief may be the charge when one of the following apply

  1. the damage to the property in question is valued at more than $500 and less than $1,000,
  2. the property damaged, defiled, or destroyed was any legal document, or
  3. the property damaged is a barricade, blockade, sign, or light posted to keep people out of a dangerous area

Criminal mischief in the 3r degree is an aggravated misdemeanor. An aggravated misdemeanor carries a potential 2 year sentence and $6,250 in fines.

Ref: IA. St. §716

Iowa Trespassing Laws & Penalties

Trespassing is another frequently seen property crime. This offense has several different details that can make it confusing for the average person.

However, in general, if you enter onto the property of another without their consent, you could be charged with this offense.

In most cases trespassing is a simple misdemeanor, punishable by up to 30 days in jail and fines. There are circumstances, however, that elevate the charge to an aggravated misdemeanor.

Ref: IA. St. §716.8

Whether you are charged with criminal mischief, trespassing, or even arson, we can help. The laws regarding property crimes in Iowa are quite complex and tricky to understand by yourself. You need someone with experience to guide you through this process.

Our defense lawyers handled cases like these in our local courts, we can be an asset to your case. Contact us today for some free legal advice and to discuss the best way to approach your defense. Alexander Steen Jersey