A criminal damage charge in Arizona can range from a Class 2 Misdemeanor to a Class 4 Felony, depending on the circumstances of the case and the estimated damage.
All criminal damage charges in Arizona carry a potential jail sentence as well as possible fines. The severity of the sentence will depend on the type and amount of damage caused, as well as whether the accused had any prior criminal history.
In this article, we will discuss what constitutes a misdemeanor criminal damage charge in Arizona, and what penalties you could face if convicted.
When is Criminal Damage Considered a Misdemeanor?
In Arizona, criminal damage is considered a misdemeanor when the damage to property or land is estimated to be less than $1,000 and more than $250. Less than $250 in damages is considered a Class 2 misdemeanor while $250 to $1,000 in damages is considered a Class 1 misdemeanor.
IMPORTANT: If you are facing a criminal damage charge you could be facing a penalty of up to 4 to 6 months in jail in addition to fines. It is important that you speak with an attorney in order to understand what charges you may be facing and how to best handle your case. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help ensure your rights are protected and give you the best chance at a successful outcome.
How Does Arizona Define Criminal Damage?
In Arizona, criminal damage is defined as knowingly or recklessly damaging property of another person, public property, or land.
According to A.R.S. 13-1602, a person commits criminal damage if:
- Intentionally damaging or defacing property that belongs to someone else.
- Substantially damaging another person’s property through reckless behavior that substantially impairs the function or value or the property.
- Recklessly damaging property of a utility.
- Parking any vehicle in a way that blocks livestock from accessing the only available water source.
Drawing or inscribing a message, slogan, sign or symbol on any public or private building, structure or surface without the permission of the owner.
- Vandalizing public utilities.
Are All Criminal Damage Charges Misdemeanors in Arizona?
No. In Arizona, criminal damage charges can be misdemeanors or felonies depending on the circumstances of the case.
If the property damage is estimated to exceed $1,000, or if the damage is done to critical infrastructure or state property, a criminal damage charge moves from a misdemeanor to a felony.
The value of any property damage is based on three factors:
- The cost of labor to repair the damage.
- The cost of materials to repair the damage.
- The cost of equipment to repair the damage.
NOTE: Arizona has 6 classifications of criminal damage charges ranging from a Class 2 misdemeanor to a Class 4 felony.
What are the Penalties for Misdemeanor Criminal Damage Charges in Arizona?
The penalties for a misdemeanor criminal damage charge in Arizona, vary depending on the severity of the crime and whether it is a Class 1 or Class 2 misdemeanor.
Class 1 Misdemeanor Criminal Damage Charge
A class 1 misdemeanor charge is given when property damage falls between $250 and $1000. If you’re convicted of a class 1 misdemeanor criminal damage charge, the consequences include a fine of up to $2500 and imprisonment for 6 months or less.
- If you are found guilty of setting fire to or exploding material with the intention to cause damage to property or a structure, you will be charged with a class 1 misdemeanor. This includes facing up to 6 months in jail and fines totaling $2500 plus surcharges (ARS 13-1702).
- If you engage in reckless or intentional arson and damage a structure or property by explosion, you will be charged with a class 1 misdemeanor. The maximum penalties for this include fines up to $2500 plus surcharges and six months imprisonment. However, should the structures damaged by your fire be buildings – whether occupied at the time of not – you will automatically face charges for a class 4 felony (ARS 13-1703).
Class 2 Misdemeanor Criminal Damage Charge
A class 2 misdemeanor charge for criminal damage applies when the property damaged is worth less than $250. If you’re found guilty, you could be fined up to $750 and spend 4 months in jail.
Speak with a Criminal Defense Attorney
If you or someone you know is facing criminal damage charges in Arizona, it’s important to seek legal advice.
Criminal damage charges in Arizona carry serious penalties, even for misdemeanors.
Salwin Law Group offers free consultations for all criminal damage cases. There’s no obligation. Contact us today to speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer. We’ll help you understand your legal rights and options, and we’ll fight hard to protect them.
We want what is best for you.
This is the philosophy of Salwin Law Group. We are always straightforward and honest with our clients. You owe it to yourself to get the benefit of an elite defense.
Call Salwin Law Group at (480) 702-1789 or fill out one of our short contact forms online to schedule your free consultation.