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Arizona Penalties for Criminal Damage

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 are endless.

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.

Under 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!