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Criminal Damage Charges in Phoenix

You’re probably very familiar with the term “vandalism,” a common property crime typically committed by youth. A teenager, for example, may vandalize school property by drawing on the school’s bathroom mirror, the bathroom stall, or by jumping on a trash can until it breaks and can no longer be used. When we think of vandalism, those are the type of scenarios that often come to mind.

In Arizona, we don’t use the term “vandalism.” Instead, we call vandalism “criminal damage.” Often, vandalism or criminal damage is committed by rowdy teenagers, but it can also be committed by people during bitter breakups. In reality, anyone can commit this offense. Usually, people destroy other people’s property when they’re angry with them for some reason, or when they’re trying to get revenge.

Criminal Damage Under Arizona Law

Under Arizona law, criminal damage is covered in Section 13-1602 of the Arizona Revised Statutes. A person commits criminal damage when he or she:

  • Recklessly defaces someone else’s property
  • Recklessly damages someone else’s property
  • Recklessly tampers with someone else’s property to the extent that they substantially impaired its function or value
  • Recklessly damages the property of a utility company
  • Recklessly parks one’s vehicle as to block livestock from accessing the only available water source
  • Recklessly draws or inscribes a sign, symbol, or message on a building, a structure, or a surface
  • Intentionally tampers with property belonging to a utility company

Criminal Damage Can Be a Felony or Misdemeanor

In Arizona, criminal damage can be a felony or misdemeanor depending on the amount of damage done. If the damage amounted to $10,000 or more, it is a Class 4 felony. The offense is also a Class 4 felony if the damage met or exceeded $5,000 and it involved the property of a utility company.

Criminal damage is a Class 5 felony if it involved damage from $2,000 to less than $10,000. The offense is a Class 6 felony if the damage was $1,000 or more, but less than $2,000. If the damage was $250 to less than $1,000, it is a Class 1 misdemeanor. If the damage was less than $250, the offense is charged as a Class 2 misdemeanor.

  • A Class 1 misdemeanor is punishable by six months in jail, and by a maximum fine of $2,500.
  • A Class 2 misdemeanor is punishable by four months in jail, and by a maximum fine of $750.

Are you facing charges for criminal damage? If so, contact the Law Offices of Joshua S. Davidson, PLC to schedule a free case evaluation.

Next: Juvenile Rights & Responsibilities in Arizona