Have you been charged with malicious destruction of property in the Baltimore area? If so, you need to call the Law Offices of Randolph Rice. We have the experience it takes to defend you against these criminal charges. You can be facing time in prison if found guilty. Don’t risk your future, call skilled Baltimore malicious destruction of property lawyer.
What is Malicious Destruction of Property in Baltimore?
Malicious destruction of property (§6-301) forbids a person from willfully and maliciously destroying, injuring or defacing the real or personal property of another. Malicious destruction of property, by act of throwing an object at a vehicle, is a separate offense (§6-302). This section of the law forbids the willful throwing, shooting or propelling of a rock, brick, piece of iron, steel, or other similar metal, or a dangerous missile at or into a vehicle or other means of transportation that is occupied by an individual.
Penalties for Malicious Destruction of Property
If you are convicted of malicious destruction of property, the penalty depends on how much damage was caused.
- For crimes of property damage of at least $1,000, a person who is convicted is guilty of a misdemeanor. The penalty is imprisonment of not more than three years and/or a fine not to exceed $2,500.
- For crimes of property damage of less than $1,000, a person who is convicted can face imprisonment not exceeding sixty days and/or a fine not exceeding $500.
If you are convicted of malicious destruction of property, by throwing an object at a vehicle, the penalty, if convicted, is imprisonment not exceeding one year and/or a fine not exceeding $500.
Under Maryland law, if a person is convicted for malicious destruction of property by an act of graffiti, the person must also pay restitution and/or perform community service.
Associated Crimes with Malicious Destruction of Property
Under Maryland Code public utility interference is grouped with malicious destruction of property. This can include either electrical, gas or water equipment. The law forbids a person from willfully tampering or interfering with the material, equipment or facilities of either the electrical, gas, or water companies. Whether it involves electrical, gas or water company equipment, if convicted, you could be facing up to six months in jail.
Malicious destruction of property is codified under Title 6, Crimes Against Property with crimes such as arson and burglary. Under §6-104 Malicious Burning of Property in the First Degree prohibits a person from willfully and maliciously setting fire or burning personal property of another. Under §6-207 Burglary with a Destructive Device prohibits a person from opening or attempting to open a vault, safe, or other secure repository by the use of a destructive device, while committing burglary in the first, second, or third degree.
If you have been charged with any of these crimes that fall under Crimes Against Property, then you need a lawyer. Call an experienced Baltimore criminal lawyer to consult about your case.
A Possible Defense to Malicious Destruction of Property
In order for the State to be successful in prosecuting a person for malicious destruction of property the State must prove that it was in a willful and malicious manner. This means that a possible defense is that the damage to the property was merely an accident and not willful. Negligence does not equate to willful destruction of property.
Our Baltimore Malicious Destruction of Property Lawyers Can Help
If you or someone you know has been charged with malicious destruction of property, you need to call a Baltimore defense attorney. At the Law Offices of Randolph Rice we offer free consultations to discuss your case and possible options that you have. Call (410) 694-7291 today.
Is Graffiti Considered a type of Malicious Destruction of Property?
Graffiti is a type of malicious destruction of property where you are accused of making a permanent drawing, permanent painting or permanent mark. The malicious part means you are accused of doing this or acts on purpose. For example, you can’t accidentally use a spray can to write words on a brick wall.
Is Malicious Destruction of Property a Felony or a Misdemeanor in Baltimore?
In Baltimore, Maryland it is considered a misdemeanor offense.
Can I Go to Jail if I’m Charged with Malicious Destruction of Property in Baltimore?
Yes, depending on how much damage you are accused of doing. You can be sentenced to either up to sixty (60) days if the damage is under $500. You can go to jail for up to three (3) years if the damage to property is $500 or more.
No, and unlike a speeding ticket, you must go to court and when your case is called on the day of trial, then Judge will want to know if you are represented by a lawyer. You should consider having one.
Other Penalties for Malicious Destruction of Property in Maryland
If the Malicious Destruction of Property causes damages less than $500, you can be fined up to $500. If the damage is $500 or more, you can be fined up to $2500.
You can be forced to make restitution or perform community service if you are charged with writing graffiti. Remember court fines are paid to the court. Restitution is paid to the person who had their property defaced by graffiti.
Restitution will be determined to be the cost it takes to clean or restore the property to what it looked like before the graffiti. Community service means you can be forced by the court to do supervised work for as many hours as the Judge decides is right to make up for the damage.
It sounds like the penalties for Malicious Prosecution really go up a lot depending on the value of the damage to the property. How do they determine if it is $500 or more?
Good question. The court can rely on receipts, appraisals, contractor estimates even testimony from the property owner(s ) on what they paid for the property. Remember though that the $500 value is based on damage. If something is destroyed, then it will be the cost to replace what is lost. Some things my not have values or repair costs that are easy to determine. If the Court thinks it is unclear, the value will be assumed to be under $500, and the lesser penalties will apply.
How do they prove that the crime was done maliciously? What if I said I did it, but I was only having some fun hanging out with friends?
This crime requires that your intent was malicious and willful. That means you are charged with destroying, damaging or defacing property with the desire or the intent to do so. Malice does not require that you were trying to make someone miserable, that you disliked them or even knew the property owner. It just means that when you did something you knew what you were doing and that it would harm the property.
Malicious Destruction of Property by Accident in Baltimore
If you are doing something accidentally, there cannot be malice. If there is no malice, there is no intent and no crime.
Sometimes you can be caught in the act. Some acts will speak for themselves. You don’t mistakenly write graffiti on a wall. If you grab a precious ceramic vase above your head then smash it on the ground, it will be assumed you did it with the intent of breaking it. However, a car accident is almost always assumed to be just that, a mistake where nobody wanted to cause injury or harm.
They don’t have to prove I said I wanted to harm the property or the person owning it?
No, not if it is obviously an act of destruction or they can show by other ways that your act was clearly to destroy, damage or deface the property belonging to another person.
If you are accused of Malicious Destruction of Property in Maryland, by going onto someone else’s land or property without permission, you could also be charged with criminal trespass. That means going somewhere where you are not permitted.
If the graffiti consisted of language that could be viewed as attacking mocking or belittling another race, religion, ethnic group, or other protected group of people, you could be charged with committing a hate crime. This could make your matter much more serious.
What Can Happen to me if Accused of Destruction of Property?
Damage Greater than $1000
Damages greater than $1000: you will face misdemeanor charges and a maximum sentence of up to 3 years in prison and fines of up to $2,500.
Damage Less than $1000
Damages less than $1000: the charge is still a misdemeanor but the potential sentence is up to 60 days and fines reaching $500.