Hackensack NJ Juvenile Criminal Mischief Lawyer
Juvenile Criminal Defense Attorney with Offices in Bergen, Morris, Passaic, and Camden County
Charges for criminal mischief are among the most frequently issued against juveniles and young adults in New Jersey. Criminal mischief generally involves the destruction or damage of property, and these charges are often issued in conjunction with others for trespassing or burglary. Criminal mischief offenses vary in terms of severity, based on the estimated monetary loss incurred as a result of the offense, as well as the nature of the property damaged, destroyed, or tampered with. Many times, criminal mischief charges are associated with vandalism or graffiti.
If you are a juvenile or young adult charged with criminal mischief in New Jersey, Alissa Hascup can help. She is a highly experienced criminal defense lawyer with a passion for defending the rights of young people accused of crimes. During her career, Alissa served as a Municipal Prosecutor, Assistant County Prosecutor, and Special Deputy Attorney General. She now leverages her unique insight to develop the most effective defense strategies for her clients. Alissa has successfully represented countless young defendants in courts across New Jersey, including those in Morristown, Mahwah, Clifton, and Hackensack. As a result, she was recently honored with inclusion in the New Jersey Super Lawyers Rising Stars List for Criminal Defense, published by Thompson Reuters. To discuss your case, or your child’s case with Ms. Hascup, contact her offices today at 862-257-1200 for a cost-free consultation. She will answer all of your questions and outline your available legal options.
Criminal Mischief Offenses in New Jersey
Criminal mischief is a criminal violation in New Jersey, codified in section N.J.S.A. 2C:17-3 of the State s criminal code. According to this statute, a person can be charged with criminal mischief if he or she:
- Purposely or knowingly damages the property of another;
- Damages the property of another recklessly or negligently in the employment of fire, explosives, or other dangerous means;
- Purposely, knowingly or recklessly tampers with the property of another so as to endanger a person or property (including the damaging or destroying of a rental premises by a tenant in retaliation for beginning eviction proceedings).
As mentioned above, the degree of the charges in a criminal mischief case are contingent upon the estimated value associated with the property damaged or destroyed, as well as the nature of the property subject to the offense (i.e. a grave, airport, public utility, or mechanism providing public service).
Juvenile Charges for Criminal Mischief in New Jersey
If you are under the age of 18 and charged with criminal mischief in New Jersey, your case will likely be handled within the juvenile justice system. This means that you will be required to appear in the Family Division of the Superior Court in the county in which you live. Your case will be heard and decided by a single Family Court judge who will apply the standard “the best interests of the child.” You are required to have an attorney who will represent you during these proceedings.
If you are found guilty of criminal mischief, you are not “convicted,” but instead, “adjudicated delinquent.” This will now appear on your juvenile record. Although this is similar to a conviction for an adult, the penalties imposed in a juvenile case are often far different than that of an adult criminal case. Specifically, the sentencing guidelines for a juvenile criminal mischief case are as follows:
- Juvenile Disorderly Persons Offense of Criminal Mischief (estimated monetary loss of $500 or less): sentence to serve up to 6 months in a juvenile detention center.
- Juvenile Fourth Degree Offense of Criminal Mischief (estimated monetary loss ranging from $500 to $2,000): sentence to serve up to 1 year in a juvenile detention center.
- Juvenile Third Degree Offense of Criminal Mischief (estimated monetary loss of over $2,000): sentence to serve up to 2 years in a juvenile detention center.
Notably, the above penalties are simply a guideline and are not inevitable. Other potential sentences that may be issued instead of, or in addition to, those above include: probation, community service, mental health counseling, or restitution.
Criminal Mischief Charges for College Students and Young Adults in NJ
If you are 18 or older and charged with criminal mischief in New Jersey, you are technically considered an adult. This means that your case will be adjudicated in the Municipal Court associated with the location where you allegedly committed the offense (if you are charged with a disorderly persons offense), or in the Superior Court in the county where the alleged offense occurred (if you are charged with a second, third, or fourth degree crime). Depending on the degree of your criminal mischief charges, you may be exposed to the following penalties:
- Disorderly Persons Offense of Criminal Mischief (estimated monetary loss of $500 or less): sentence to serve up to 6 months in the county jail.
- Fourth Degree Offense of Criminal Mischief (estimated monetary loss ranging from $500 to $2,000): sentence to serve up to 18 months in New Jersey State Prison
- Third Degree Offense of Criminal Mischief (estimated monetary loss of over $2,000): sentence to serve between 3 and 5 years in New Jersey State Prison
In addition to the above penalties, the court may impose community service and/or restitution payments to compensate for the property damage.
Contact an Elizabeth NJ Juvenile Criminal Mischief Attorney Today
If you are a juvenile or young adult charged with criminal mischief in New Jersey, the consequences of being found guilty can be significant and long-term. Contact The Law Offices of Alissa Hascup to discuss your case and receive a free consultation. With offices conveniently located in Hackensack, Little Falls, Camden, and Morristown, we defend clients in municipal, superior, and family courts across the State. Simply call 862-257-1200 today.