In Arizona, as well as the rest of the United States, the right to own, use and enjoy one’s own property is considered to be fundamental. As a result, many laws have been enacted to ensure that property owners are permitted to control their property as they see fit. One such law in Arizona is A.R.S. §13-1602, “Criminal Damage.” This law provides that “recklessly defacing or damaging the property of another person,” or recklessly tampering with another’s property in a way that substantially impairs its value or function, is illegal. The law also prohibits damaging property of a utility and “[r]ecklessly drawing or inscribing a message, slogan, sign or symbol that is made on any public or private building, structure or surface” without the owner’s permission.
Additionally, A.R.S. §13-1604 prohibits defacing, damaging or tampering religious structures, educational facilities, cemeteries and mortuaries, and utilities or agricultural infrastructures. Doing so constitutes the “Aggravated” version of this crime.
The penalties for both of these charges can be serious, so if you have been charged with either of these crimes, you should contact a criminal defense lawyer as quickly as possible. The experienced defense attorneys of DM Cantor can help you; find out more information through a free consultation by contacting us via our secure, confidential contact form or call 602-737-2812.
Potential Punishments: Criminal Damages
The punishments for non-aggravated damage charges depend on the amount of the damage. If the amount of damage is less than $250, the charge is a class two (2) misdemeanor, punishable by up to four months in jail and probation, as well as a fine of $750 plus an 84% surcharge. On the opposite end of the spectrum is damage that causes at least $10,000. The resulting charge is class four (4) felony, which, if it is a first offense, is punishable by probation and up to one (1) year in jail, or a prison term of between one (1) year to three years and nine months (3.75 years) in prison. If it is a second offense, the prison term range increases to between two years, three months (2.25 years) and seven years, six months (7.5 years). If the criminal damage conviction is your third felony conviction, the prison term ranges from between six (6) years to fifteen (15) years. Between these two extremes are charges classified as class five (5) and six (6) felonies and class one (1) misdemeanors.
Potential Punishments: Aggravated Criminal Damages
Aggravated Criminal Damage charges also result in steep penalties. If found guilty of causing any amount of damage up to $1,500 will result in a class six (6) felony charge. Such charges are punishable by probation and up to one (1) year in jail, or between four (4) months and two (2) years of prison for a first offense. Those with one prior offense will face sentences of between nine (9) months and two years, nine months (2.75 years) in prison. Those with two prior offenses face prison terms of between two years, three months (2.25 years) and five years, nine months (5.75 years).
Damaging property and causing higher levels of damage results in steeper penalties. The maximum value range for Aggravated Criminal Damage is $10,000 and up. Causing that much damage will result in a class four (4) felony charge, with a first offense punishable by probation and up to one (1) year in jail, or between one (1) year and three years, nine months (3.75 years) in prison. One prior conviction increases the prison term range to two years, three months (2.25 years) to seven years, six months (7.5 years). Two prior convictions increase the range to between six (6) years and fifteen (15) years in prison.
Possible Defenses to Criminal Damage
Close readings of the damage statutes allow our firm to assert defenses such as lack of intent and lack of criminal recklessness, through which we demonstrate that even if a person did cause damage, he did not do so intentionally or recklessly. Criminal recklessness is not the same as recklessness in the lay sense, so our firm forces prosecutors to show that the defendant acted in a manner grossly different from how a reasonable person would behave.
The Law Offices of David Michael Cantor fights for clients with a wide array of defenses, including more general defenses such as denial of the right to counsel, which can occur where police question you without heeding your requests for a lawyer. Our firm may also assert a defense of Miranda rights violation, which can occur where a defendant is not read his rights or where a defendant is forced or tricked into making an involuntary confession. Our firm also scrutinizes police reports and procedures for mistakes, inaccurate or misleading information, forensic flaws, search warrant validity, improper photo lineups, and other issues that can aid in your defense.
Hiring a firm with the highest Martindale Hubbell® rating of AV® such as David Michael Cantor can give you the peace of mind that comes with a firm with the highest ethics and skills. Criminal defense lawyer David Michael Cantor is a Certified Criminal Law Specialist per the Arizona Board of Legal Specialization, and many of the firm’s lawyers are former prosecutors with insights into the justice system. The firm as well as all of its lawyers is also listed in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers®. You can contact DM Cantor for a free consultation by contacting us via our secure, confidential contact form or call 602-737-2812.