Arizona Criminal Damage Law
Criminal damage law in Arizona encompasses a variety of crimes committed against the property of another, ranging from defacing public or private buildings and tampering with properties of utility companies to the reckless destruction of another person’s valuable property. It also includes parking to prevent livestock from reaching water.
The crimes can be misdemeanors or felonies depending upon the value of the property that is damaged or destroyed. Punishment ranges from up to 4 months in jail for misdemeanors to 18 months to 3 years in state prison for felonies, which also carry a maximum fine of $150,000. The court may also order those convicted of this crime to pay restitution to the victim.
Aggravated Criminal Damage
Aggravated criminal damage is a more serious crime and harsher penalties are imposed. Acts that are committed intentionally or recklessly elevate the crime to this felony level. Penalties are enhanced from 6 to 18 months in prison for property valued at less than $500 and up to 3 years in prison for property valued at $10,000 or more.
Aggravated criminal damage includes defacing, damaging, or tampering with agricultural property, and construction sites.
Criminal Damage Defenses
Those charged with criminal damage or aggravated criminal damage have two basic defenses. The first is lack of intent and second is lack of criminal recklessness.
Lack of intent can be proven if the act was caused by an accident. Lack of recklessness can be proven by showing that a reasonable person would have acted in the same way. The state must prove the defendant intended to commit criminal damage, such as painting graffiti, or was reckless in that the defendant caused criminal damage by behaving in a manner that a reasonable person would not have done.
If you are charged with criminal damage, it is imperative that you immediately consult with an attorney who has successfully handled these case, such as the highly experienced attorneys with Van Norman Law. Arrange for a free initial consultation to determine the possible defenses that may work for you.