Fairfax Destruction of Property Lawyer
Destruction of property, otherwise known as vandalism, is actually quite common in Fairfax, VA. As a Fairfax destruction of property lawyer, I have seen all manner of conduct which could be considered the destruction of property. Whether it be street artists expressing themselves, children toilet-papering a house on Halloween, gang members spray painting walls to establish territory, or even a night of drinking which led to some disorderly conduct. The crime of destruction of property could encompass all of these things – and many more. Historically, destruction of property was viewed solely as a crime where someone had broken something – such as windows, doors, fences, or some other property. Destruction of property also includes the destruction of, or damage to, posted signs, trees, and public utilities. If you have a child who has been charged with vandalism or destruction of property, see our page on Juvenile Defense.
Is Destruction of Property a Misdemeanor or a Felony?
When I was in law school, I once read that the difference between a person when they start law school and when they graduate is the following: When a person starts law school and someone asks them the answer to a legal question, their response will be “I don’t know.” But when they are asked the same question after graduating law school, their answer is “it depends.” In this vein, the answer to the question above is that it depends.
According to Virginia Code § 18.2-137, it is unlawful for any person to destroy, deface, or damage any property which does not belong to them. If the property damaged is less than $1,000, then the accused shall be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor. But if the property damaged is worth more than $1,000, the accused shall be charged with a Class 6 felony.
If convicted of a Class 1 misdemeanor, the accused shall face a sentence of up to one year in jail and up to $2,500 in fines. If convicted of a Class 6 felony, the accused shall face between one to five years in prison. However, in the discretion of the judge or jury, the accused convicted of a Class 6 felony may be sentenced to up to 12 months in prison and a fine of up to $2,500. Additionally, the defendant may be ordered to pay restitution to the victim.
If you have been charged with either misdemeanor or felony destruction of property, you will want to have a Fairfax destruction of property lawyer on your side to help you fight these charges and obtain the best possible outcome in your case.
How Can a Fairfax Destruction of Property Lawyer Help Me?
Destruction of property cases often involve restitution or a fine – which can make vandalism an expensive and risky proposition. Your Fairfax destruction of property lawyer can assist in determining what defenses you may have and negotiate the charges down or even have them dismissed. Having these charges dismissed or lowered is particularly important if you have been charged with felonious destruction of property.
Additionally, the value of the property damage is often a rough estimate by the police or property owners, but that estimate can be properly challenged by a good Fairfax destruction of property lawyer. Your attorney can obtain an independent appraisal of the damage to contradict the Commonwealth’s statement of costs or damages. This could be the difference between being charged with a felony or misdemeanor.
Finally, whether the charges are for a felony or misdemeanor, your Fairfax destruction of property lawyer may be able to get all parties to agree to a civil compromise where the owner of the vandalized property drops the charges after the damage to his/her property has been repaired. In fact, repairing any damage usually mitigates or lessens the punishment associated with a destruction of property charge. It is also of great use in persuading the prosecutor to lower the charge from a felony to a misdemeanor. But even without a civil compromise, restitution for the damage or repair of the damage is almost always of great utility to the defense.
Possible Defenses to Destruction of Property
Defenses to destruction of property include consent, false accusations, mistaken identity, and insufficient evidence. It is important to note, however, that police don’t always catch people who are actively engaged in destroying property. Many times, admissions of guilt, possession of tools, or paint stains on one’s clothing or hands can serve as sufficient evidence to support criminal charges.
If you or someone you love has been arrested or charged with destruction of property or any other crime in Fairfax County, contact the Law Offices of Randall Sousa now for a Free Consultation with a Fairfax destruction of property lawyer. 571-354-6164
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By: Randall Sousa
PASSIONATE AND PERSONAL SERVICE
The Law Offices of Randall Sousa provides clients throughout Virginia with affordable, professional, and aggressive criminal defense legal services. If you have been arrested, charged with a crime, or are under investigation, call us now for a Free Consultation.
Fairfax Criminal Defense Attorney Randall Sousa possesses a deep commitment and passion for criminal defense, and he is relentless when it comes to fighting for his clients in each and every case.
Law Offices of Randall Sousa
3007 Williams Drive
Fairfax, VA 22031