Vandalism is a common juvenile crime involving the destruction or defacement of property. In Utah, vandalism is known as “criminal mischief.” If you, your daughter, or your son was arrested for criminal mischief in Salt Lake City or elsewhere in Utah, you need an experienced criminal attorney on your family’s side. Representation by a skilled defense lawyer greatly improves your odds of defeating the charges and keeping your freedom.
Charged with Criminal Mischief? Contact A Utah Criminal Defense Attorney
For over 16 years, criminal defense attorney Darwin Overson has dedicated his practice to defending the Constitutional rights of Utah residents charged with felonies and misdemeanors. Darwin has handled thousands of cases during his many years practicing criminal law. He is amply prepared with the knowledge and experience to face any legal challenge, and has built a reputation for being an aggressive opponent in the courtroom. Where other attorneys give up or take the easy way out, Darwin will do everything in his power to have your charges reduced or dismissed.
Darwin is available to make emergency visits to holding centers and county jails throughout the state of Utah, including Salt Lake County, Wasatch County, Morgan County, Davis County, Summit County, Tooele County, and Box Elder County. To set up a free legal consultation with Darwin, call the law offices of Overson Law right away at (801) 758-2287.
My Teenager Was Arrested for Vandalism, What Happens Next?
In many cases, the person charged with committing vandalism is a juvenile (a defendant under the age of 18). Juveniles do not go through the same court system as adults, nor are the consequences of a conviction, called an adjudication of delinquency, the same as they would be for adult defendants. The penalties for a vandalism conviction or adjudication of delinquency are listed in the next section.
There are three basic scenarios where the police can make an arrest: executing an arrest warrant previously obtained from a judge, intervening against apparent in-progress vandalism, or making a warrantless arrest based on probable cause, which is reasonable belief that a crime is occurring or has occurred.
In adult felony proceedings, probable cause is reviewed at a court hearing called the preliminary hearing. If the court finds no probable cause, the case must be dismissed. If probable cause is found, the case will proceed to arraignment (when the defendant’s plea is entered) and, if the defendant pleads not guilty, eventually the case will go to trial.
Unlike adult courts, Juvenile Court is civil, not criminal. It is also less formal and more private than its adult counterpart. The court will assign an intake officer to the case, who will schedule a hearing before a judge if the juvenile denies the allegations.
Penalties for Felonies and Misdemeanors in Utah
Like most states, Utah separates crimes into two categories: lesser offenses called misdemeanors, and more serious crimes called felonies. Some crimes, including criminal mischief, can be misdemeanors or felonies depending on the specifics of the alleged incident.
Both felonies and misdemeanors are further divided into several subcategories, subject to increasing penalties as the offense grading becomes more serious. Misdemeanors are distinguished by “class” ranging from Class C at the low end, through Class B, to Class A at the high end. Felonies are distinguished by “degree” ranging from third degree at the low end, through second degree, to first degree at the high end.
Criminal mischief can be a Class B misdemeanor, Class A misdemeanor, third degree felony, or second degree felony. Depending on how the offense is graded, the defendant could face the following penalties if convicted:
- Class B Misdemeanor
- Fine – Up to $1,000
- Sentence – Up to 6 months in jail
- Class A Misdemeanor
- Fine – Up to $2,500
- Sentence – Up to 1 year in jail
- Third Degree Felony
- Fine – Up to $5,000
- Sentence – Up to 5 years in prison
- Second Degree Felony
- Fine – Up to $10,000
- Sentence – Up to 15 years in prison
Juveniles who are found guilty are adjudicated delinquent rather than criminally convicted. Instead of being sent to jail or prison to serve time among adult inmates, a juvenile who is adjudicated delinquent in Utah will typically be fined, placed on probation, ordered to perform community service, and/or placed into a secure facility with other juveniles.
A juvenile record can deprive your child of valuable work and education opportunities. You need to act quickly and aggressively to give your son or daughter the best chance of beating the charges and avoiding a record of delinquency. Call Salt Lake City vandalism lawyer Darwin Overson at (801) 758-2287 today for a free and confidential legal consultation.