Being arrested and charged with defacing and damaging the property of another is serious, and you should respond to the situation with decisiveness. Under Arizona law, criminal damage is defined as a crime against property. It is often charged in conjunction with crimes related to theft and the commission of similar offenses. If convicted, you can be imprisoned and forced to pay fines and the cost of repairs.
If you have been arrested for this crime, you should contact an Arizona lawyer. The officers who take you into custody may try to coax a confession out of you or tell you that they already know everything you’ve done. Even if you think it might be in your best interest to cooperate, you can do this safely with a lawyer present.
You can exercise your Fifth Amendment right to remain silent until your lawyer arrives and then discuss the situation with them. Even if you are being squeezed to give someone else up or you know you had nothing to do with the crime, it’s best to have a professional to talk to who deals with these kinds of situations all the time. They will not be flustered by police interrogation and will not allow you to inadvertently incriminate yourself.
According to Arizona law, criminal damage consists of:
-Recklessly defacing or damaging property
-Recklessly tampering with the property of another person in a way that degrades its function or value
-Drawing a message, slogan, or symbol on any public or private building without the permission of the owner
Penalties for criminal damage depend on the value of the property. They are as follows:
-For property worth less than $250, you can spend up to four months in jail
-For property worth between $250 to $1,000, you can spend up to six months in jail
-For property worth between $1,000 to $2,000, you can spend up to a year in jail or prison
-For property worth between $2,000 to $10,000, you can spend 18 months in jail or prison
-Property damage over $10,000 can put you in prison for 2.5 years
You will also have to pay for the cost of the materials and labor that will be required to repair the damaged property.
Being charged with a crime is not the same as being convicted of a crime. When you are arrested, the authorities may make you feel as though there is an equivalence between the two. But if you did not commit this offense, then you should fight the charge.
The first thing your criminal defense lawyer will do is ask the police to present the evidence they have against you. If the only thing they have is the mention of your name in connection with such a crime or the description of a man vaguely resembling your age or race, then your criminal attorney can get to work to have you released. If they have solid proof that you were at the scene of the crime, they may be able to hold you but your attorney will be with you through the arraignment and bail process to lend their expertise and try to move things along.
Even if there is circumstantial evidence that you were at the crime scene, prosecutors still have all their work ahead of them to prove that you are guilty of criminal damage. Your attorney will be able to discern the gaps and holes in their case and use them to raise reasonable doubt.
If you have been charged with criminal damage, you should call the Law Offices of Gary L Rohlwing. He can help you through this difficult time.