Palisades Interstate Park NJ Juvenile Criminal Mischief Lawyers

The offense of criminal mischief might be one of the most popular juvenile offenses charged in Bergen County. Some of the typical criminal mischief  “acts” which a juvenile finds themselves participating in is toilet papering, spray painting, egging and breaking windows. Although this offense seems minor in nature, it can turn into a very serious offense depending on the amount of damage created. Further, it is not uncommon for a juvenile charged with criminal mischief to also be charged with either trespassing or even burglary. The offense of juvenile criminal mischief just like the adult version is controlled directly by the dollar amount of damage created. (see below) It is important to note here that the juvenile criminal justice system is centered around rehabilitating the juvenile and trying to make sure that this is their last encounter in with court system.  The general purpose is not to lock the juvenile up and throw away the key. With that being said, a conviction for this offense or any other juvenile offense for that matter can have devastating effects on your child’s life; the most obvious is applying to colleges. The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall has a full understanding of how the juvenile justice system works. We have been successfully defending juveniles charged with criminal offenses in Bergen County in towns like Paramus, Ramsey, Ridgefield Park, Saddle River and Franklin Lakes for over fifteen years. Listed below is some important information with regards to the juvenile offense of criminal mischief.

Juvenile Criminal Mischief Attorneys in Dumont NJ: N.J.S.A. 2C:17-3

The offense of criminal mischief is broad enough to cover countless amounts of “conduct”. However, before an individual can be convicted of Criminal Mischief the prosecution must prove that the defendant either:

    1. Purposely or knowingly damaged tangible property; or
    2. Damaged tangible property recklessly or negligently, which was directly related to a dangerous activity (i.e. fire); or
    3. Purposely, knowingly or recklessly tampered with tangible property so as to endanger another person or property.

As you can tell from above, the legislatures have left this statute extremely broad. They have done so because they want it to cover as wide of a range of conduct as possible. The general underline theme behind this offense is that the defendant damaged the  personal property of another.

Fines & Penalties if Convicted:

The degree of this juvenile offense will be “graded” just like the adult level offense. Also, just like the adult system, this offense can be either an indictable offense (felony) or a disorderly persons offense (misdemeanor) depending on the dollar amount of the property damaged. However, the potential incarceration period is drastically less. Listed below is the breakdown of the degrees which your child may be charged with.

    • Third Degree Offense: Property damaged was valued over $2,000.00.
      • A conviction for a third degree offense can carry up to two years in a Juvenile Detention Center.
    • Fourth Degree Offense: Property damaged was valued between $500.00 – $2,000.00.
      • A conviction for a fourth degree offense can carry up to one year in a Juvenile Detention Center.
    • Disorderly Persons Offense: Property damaged was valued at $500.00 or less.
      • A conviction for a disorderly person offense carries up to six months in a Juvenile Detention Center.

How we can help

As stated earlier, the underline goal of the juvenile system is to rehabilitate not punish the child. With that being said, it is not uncommon for a juvenile judge to impose harsh penalties to try and scare your child from committing another offense. Depending on the amount of damaged caused, our goal would be to get your child into a diversionary program known as a deferred disposition. A deferred disposition basically means that the judge will place your child on a probationary period, usually six months to one year and if your child completes that period without getting in trouble again, the charges will be dropped and he/she will walk away from this offense without a criminal record. Also, the judge will almost certainly be seeking restitution for the victim. Therefore, there is a good chance that your child can walk away from this nightmare without a criminal record and without damaging his future.

Mahwah NJ Juvenile Criminal Mischief Defense Attorneys

The staff at The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall is comprised of eight criminal defense attorneys, including four former prosecutors. We have the experience and skill set necessary to protect your child’s interests. We fully understand that their future is at jeopardy. If you have any further questions with regards to this offense or any other juvenile offense for that matter please contact any one of our Bergen County offices for a free initial consultation.