Law Office of Kimberly N. Shanklin, PLLC.
Serving Denton County Since 2002
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Criminal Mischief

Criminal Mischief

Chapter 28 of the Texas Penal Code sets the regulations and punishments involved with arson, criminal mischief, and other forms of property damage and destruction.

“Criminal Mischief”, as per § 28.03 of the Texas Penal Code, occurs when a person, without the effective consent of the owner:

  • intentionally or knowingly damages or destroys the tangible property of the owner;

  • intentionally or knowingly tampers with the tangible property of the owner and causes pecuniary loss or substantial inconvenience to the owner or a third person; or

  • he intentionally or knowingly makes markings, including inscriptions, slogans, drawings, or paintings, on the tangible property of the owner.

The level of severity for a criminal mischief offense depends on the pecuniary loss incurred by the offense, and the amount of harm done unto others as well as animals.

If the pecuniary loss is $100 or less, or it causes substantial inconvenience to others, it is a Class C misdemeanor.

If the pecuniary loss is between $100 and $750, it is a Class B misdemeanor.

If the pecuniary loss is between $750 and $2,500, or he actor causes in whole or in part impairment or interruption of any public water supply, or causes to be diverted in whole, in part, or in any manner, including installation or removal of any device for any such purpose, any public water supply, regardless of the amount of the pecuniary loss, it is a Class A Misdemeanor.

It is a state jail felony if one of the following conditions are met:

  • The pecuniary loss is between $2,500 and $30,000

  • The pecuniary loss is less than $2,500, if the property damaged or destroyed is a habitation and if the damage or destruction is caused by a firearm or explosive weapon

  • The pecuniary loss is less than $2,500, if the property was a fence used for the production or containment of:

    • cattle, bison, horses, sheep, swine, goats, exotic livestock, or exotic poultry or game animals

  • The pecuniary loss is less than $30,000 and the actor:

    • causes wholly or partly impairment or interruption of property used for flood control purposes or a dam or of public communications, public transportation, public gas or power supply, or other public service; or

    • causes to be diverted wholly, partly, or in any manner, including installation or removal of any device for any such purpose, any public communications or public gas or power supply;

If the pecuniary loss is between $30,000 and $150,000, or the actor, by discharging a firearm or other weapon or by any other means, causes the death of one or more head of cattle or bison or one or more horses, it is a third degree felony.

If the pecuniary loss is between $150,000 and $300,000, it is a second degree felony.

If the pecuniary loss is over $300,000, it is a first degree felony.

An offense under this section is a state jail felony if the damage or destruction is inflicted on a place of worship or human burial, a public monument, or a community center that provides medical, social, or educational programs and the amount of the pecuniary loss to real property or to tangible personal property is $750 or more but less than $30,000.

Severity of Crime

Misdemeanor c

  • Fine not to exceed $500

Misdemeanor B

  • Confinement in jail for a term not to exceed 180 days

  • Fine not to exceed $2,000

  • Both such fine and confinement

Misdemeanor A

  • Confinement in jail for a term not to exceed one year

  • Fine not to exceed $4,000

  • Both such fine and confinement

State Jail Felony

  • Confinement in a state jail for not more than two years and not less than 180 days

  • In addition to confinement, may receive a fine not to exceed $10,000

Third Degree Felony

  • Imprisonment in the institutional division for not more than 10 years or less than two years

  • In addition to imprisonment, may receive a fine not to exceed $10,000

Second Degree FelonY

  • Imprisonment in the institutional division for not more than 20 years or less than two years

  • In addition to imprisonment, may receive a fine not to exceed $10,000

First Degree Felony

  • Imprisonment in the institutional division for life, or

  • Imprisonment in the institutional division for not more than 99 years or less than five years with the exception of aggravated sexual assault, which adds a 25-year minimum punishment if the victim is younger than 6, or younger than 14 and the offense contained threats of serious bodily injury or death, or use of a deadly weapon

  • In addition to imprisonment, may receive a fine not to exceed $10,000