Criminal damage is taken very seriously in Phoenix. Although criminal damage can occur as part of either an intentional or reckless event, the vast majority of criminal damage crimes take place as the result of domestic disputes that get out of hand.
In this regard, many people do not know that if you get in an argument with a family member, partner or spouse and damage property both of you co-own, then you are actually committing criminal damage.
Being accused of, or charged with, criminal damage is a very frightening, upsetting and potentially embarrassing experience that can plague your personal and professional lives for years to come. This is why it is essential you retain a competent, aggressive defense attorney who will fight diligently for your legal rights so that you do not have to face this trying time alone.
What Constitutes a Criminal Damage Charge?
According to Arizona Revised Statute (ARS) 13-1602, there are six ways to be charged with criminal damage:
- If you recklessly or intentionally deface or damage property that belongs to someone else, or is considered community property owned by you and someone else
- If you tamper with someone’s property in any way that significantly impairs its value
- If you damage property owned by a utility
- Intentionally tampering with property owned by a utility
- If you park or place your vehicle in a location that impedes the ability for livestock to drink (although this is not prosecuted regularly, it is still considered criminal damage)
- Defacing someone’s property by writing on it or drawing graffiti without their permission
You can be charged with criminal damage by physically damaging property or a structure, say with your fist or a hammer, or else setting a fire or causing an explosion that subsequently damages property or a structure in its wake (ARS 13-1702, ARS 13-1703).
By far the most common criminal damage offenses in Phoenix are recklessly defacing or damaging property, and tampering with property. In Phoenix, if you get in an argument with your partner or spouse, and out of anger you punch your fist through a wall that you both own, you can be charged with criminal damage.
Types of Criminal Damage in Phoenix
There are two levels of criminal damage crimes in Phoenix:
- Presumptive Criminal Damage- Occurs when you intentionally or recklessly deface or damage public or private property in one of the manners above
- Aggravated Criminal Damage- Occurs when you intentionally or recklessly deface or damage a place of worship, a school or educational facility, or a mortuary or cemetery
Severity of Criminal Damage Charges
Presumptive criminal damage can be either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the extent of damage you have caused. However, if aggravated circumstances are present, you will be charged with a felony even if the amount of damage does not meet the normal criteria to warrant a felony charge.
Trust Phoenix Criminal Attorney with your Criminal Damage Defense in Phoenix
Phoenix Criminal Attorney provides our clients with focused legal assistance for both misdemeanor and felony criminal damage charges. We will not stop fighting for your rights by making sure that every possible legal option and defense strategy is available to you. If you have been charged with either a misdemeanor or felony criminal damage crime in Phoenix, contact us today for a private, no obligation consultation at 602-551-8092.