It is not uncommon for people to destroy another person’s property
and the reasons for this vary. For example, a scorned husband or wife
may destroy their spouse’s property after they learn that their
soon-to-be-ex filed divorce papers.
An enraged wife can “light” her husband’s sporting equipment
on fire, or an angry husband can slash his wife’s collection of
designer purses with the couple’s kitchen knife.
An employee can be fired from his job, then the bitter employee shows up
to his former place of employment and smashes thousands of dollars’
worth of merchandise with a bat.
Or, a group of teenagers can drive around town, throwing concrete blocks
and heavy rocks into the windows of parked vehicles. The possibilities
Destroying Another’s Property is a Crime
People cannot go around destroying others’ property – that
is illegal. The law comes down hard on people who damage or otherwise
destroy someone else’s property without their permission.
Under A.R.S. Sec. 13-1602, destroying another’s property is called
criminal damage. A person commits the offense of criminal damage, when he or she does any
of the following:
- Recklessly damages, defaces, or destroys someone else’s property.
- Recklessly tampers with someone else’s property in such a manner
as to substantially impair its function or value.
- Recklessly damages the property belonging to a utility company.
- Recklessly draws on, carves on the surface of, or inscribes a sign or message
on any surface, structure, or surface of a private or public building
without the owner’s permission.
- Intentionally tempers with the property belonging to a utility company.
Under Sec. 13-1602, criminal damage ranges from a
Class 2 misdemeanor to a
Class 4 felony based on the degree of damage/value of the property. For example, criminal
damage is a Class 1 misdemeanor if the damage ranges from $50 to $999.
On the other hand, criminal damage is a Class 4 felony if the property
damage is $10,000 or more. For example, if the angry ex-employee mentioned
earlier damaged more than $10,000 worth of goods when he was smashing
the merchandise at his former place of employment, he could face Class
4 felony charges.
A.R.S. Sec. 13-702, a
Class 4 felony carries a prison sentence ranging from 1 to 3.75 years in prison, and
a fine not to exceed $150,000. In conclusion, the penalties for damaging
another’s property can be quite severe; essentially, the more expensive
the property, the more serious the charge.
If you are facing criminal charges for destroying another’s property,
contact the Law Offices of Joshua S. Davidson, PLC to discuss your case with a
former prosecutor for free!