Rely on the Competent Mastro, Barnes & Stazzone P.C. Team
If you have been accused of damaging or taking someone else’s property, you need a criminal defense attorney to assist you in court. Criminal mischief, theft, criminal tampering, and trespass are all property crimes under Colorado law. When you require an experienced, competent criminal defense lawyer in Denver or a surrounding area to represent you, don’t hesitate to call Mastro, Barnes & Stazzone P.C. Our law firm has over 35 years of experience to help clients achieve the best possible outcome. No matter what type of criminal charges you are up against, you should not face them alone. Our clients always receive our personal attention. We take the time to answer questions, so that you can make informed decisions regarding your future. Please call or email today to schedule your free initial consultation!
We Represent Clients Facing Various Criminal Mischief Charges
Are you familiar with the legal term criminal mischief? Any time someone intentionally damages another person’s property without their permission, no matter how minor or severe, it is said to be a case of criminal mischief. Also referred to as malicious mischief, criminal mischief typically involves vandalism and damages to property. Accidental damage is never considered criminal mischief. It must be proven in court that the defendant knowingly committed the damage. Mastro, Barnes & Stazzone P.C. has represented clients accused of various criminal mischief charges over the years, including:
- Slashed tires
- Broken windows
- Damaged property
- Sending a virus to another person’s or business’ computer
- Tampering with fire alarms, emergency exits, or utility meters
What Are the Penalties for Criminal Mischief in Colorado?
If you are found guilty of criminal mischief in the state of Colorado, the penalties can be severe, depending on the extent of the damages involved and whether you are a repeat offender. You could face jail time or steep legal fines in addition to being asked to pay restitution for the property that was damaged. Here is a generalized breakdown for criminal mischief classifications in Colorado:
- Under $300 in damages – Class 3 Misdemeanor (maximum penalty: 6 months in county jail)
- $300-749 in damages – Class 2 Misdemeanor (maximum penalty: 12 months in county jail)
- $750-999 in damages – Class 1 Misdemeanor (maximum penalty: 18 months in county jail)
- $1,000-4,999 in damages – Class 6 Felony (maximum penalty: 18 months in the Colorado Department of Corrections – DOC)
- $5,000-19,999 in damages – Class 5 Felony (maximum penalty: 3 years in DOC)
- $20,000-99,999 in damages – Class 4 Felony (maximum penalty: 6 years in DOC)
- $100,000-999,999 in damages – Class 3 Felony (maximum penalty: 12 years in DOC)
- $1,000,000 or more in damages – Class 2 Felony (maximum penalty: 24 years in DOC)
The maximum penalties listed above are mere guidelines. You should be aware that the decision will ultimately be up to the judge presiding over your case. In some instances, the judge may even decide to double those maximum sentences. Criminal mischief charges cannot be sealed from your criminal record unless your case was dismissed. With so much at stake, including your freedom and reputation, you owe it to yourself to seek skilled legal representation. If you are facing criminal mischief charges in Denver or a surrounding area such as Aurora, Boulder, or Centennial, our experienced law firm can help!
Criminal Mischief as a Domestic Violence Offense in Colorado
Often, criminal mischief charges may be filed in conjunction with a case involving domestic violence. Even if you are the partial or joint owner of the property you have intentionally damaged, you can still be charged with criminal mischief in the state of Colorado. For example, let’s say you punched a hole in the wall of the home you shared with your spouse during a heated argument. You could face criminal mischief charges in addition to any domestic violence or assault charges also filed against you by your spouse. Even if you damaged the property you bought yourself, such as your spouse’s cellphone, you could still face criminal mischief charges. If found guilty of criminal mischief involving domestic violence, you could also be asked to attend domestic violence classes for up to a year as part of your sentencing.
What Are the Differences Between Petty Theft & Larceny Theft?
Another type of property crime we are familiar with at Mastro, Barnes & Stazzone P.C. is property theft. When you knowingly take something that belongs to somebody else, you are committing the crime known as theft. A person may also be accused of theft if they knowingly accepted the stolen property and failed to return it to the rightful owner. Depending on the value of the stolen property, theft can be classified as a misdemeanor or a felony, each representing very different levels of severity and penalties. Petty theft in the state of Colorado typically involves stealing property valued at less than $50. Examples of petty theft include shoplifting, passing bad checks, and extortion. Petty theft is considered a petty offense usually punishable with up to $500 in fines and/or up-to six months in jail, though this may vary by case. If the stolen property was valued between $50 and $300, it would be considered a Class 3 Misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and/or $750 in fines.
The scale for maximum penalties for theft runs very similarly to the one previously mentioned under criminal mischief. The line between a misdemeanor and a felony theft in Colorado is set at stolen property valued at $2,000 or higher. Felony theft is also referred to as larceny-theft or sometimes grand larceny. If the stolen property’s value was between $2,000 and $5,000, you would be facing a Class 6 Felony, punishable by up to 1.5 years in prison and up to $100,000 in fines. Stolen property valued over $1,000,000 would be considered a Class 2 Felony, punishable by up to 24 years in prison and up to $1 million in fines. These are meant to be general guidelines only. State laws are subject to change at any time, and the ultimate decision, in any case, is up to the presiding judge.
If Convicted, Criminal Trespassing Carries Severe Penalties
Are you familiar with the property crime known as trespassing? You could be found guilty of trespassing if you unlawfully enter another person’s home or motor vehicle without their permission. Criminal trespassing carries severe penalties if convicted in Colorado. A First-Degree Criminal Trespass is a Class 5 Felony, punishable by up to three years in the Colorado Department of Corrections. To be charged with criminal trespass involving a motor vehicle in the first degree, it must be proven that the defendant intended to commit a crime once they had gained access to the vehicle. This is not the case if a building is involved; it’s simply defined as entering another person’s home. If it is proven that the defendant had the intent to commit a crime once inside the other person’s home, then the crime is considered burglary trespass, which is tried separately.
Second-Degree Criminal Trespass typically involves unlawfully entering the fenced area of another’s property or trespassing at an apartment or condo building, hotel, or motel. It may also involve a motor vehicle, and this time it does not have to be proven that the defendant intended to commit a crime once inside the vehicle. Second-Degree Criminal Trespass may be considered a Class 3 or a Class 2 Misdemeanor or even a Class 4 Felony, depending upon if the agricultural property was involved and if the defendant intended to commit a crime once inside. A Class 4 Felony is punishable by up to six years in prison. Third-Degree Criminal Trespass is similar to Second-Degree, except a fence does not have to be involved. Third-Degree Criminal Trespass is typically considered a petty offense unless it involves agricultural property with the defendant intending to commit a crime once inside. In that case, it may be regarded as a Class 2 Misdemeanor.
Criminal Tampering Involves Tampering with Utility Meters & More
Tampering with someone else’s property is considered criminal tampering, and it carries severe consequences if convicted. The penalties depend on whose property was being tampered with and the reasons involved. First-Degree Criminal Tampering involves tampering with the property of an institution that provides a dedicated service to public health or safety. Tampering with utility meters would fall under the category of First-Degree Criminal Tampering, which is a Class 1 Misdemeanor, punishable by up to 6-18 months in jail and a fine up to $5,000. Second-Degree Criminal Tampering is considered a Class 2 Misdemeanor, punishable by up to 3-12 months in jail and a fine up to $1,000. Examples of Second-Degree Criminal Tampering would include cutting a neighbor’s phone line or connecting a cable line to your home without authorization from the cable company.
Schedule a Consultation with Mastro, Barnes & Stazzone P.C.
Whether you are being charged with criminal mischief, theft, trespass, or tampering, you need an aggressive criminal defense attorney to help you build your defense. Call Mastro, Barnes & Stazzone P.C. to discuss your case at your earliest convenience. We offer free initial consultations in the Denver area!