A person commits criminal mischief in Colorado when he or she knowingly damages the real or personal property of another. This offense is also commonly referred to as the crime of vandalism in Colorado. Criminal mischief can be a felony or a misdemeanor depending on the extent of the damage.
Note that a defendant can be convicted of criminal mischief in Colorado even if the defendant jointly owns the property with someone else, or if the defendant owns the property but another person has a possessory or proprietary interest in it.
Our Colorado criminal defense lawyers and Denver domestic violence attorneys know that criminal mischief charges often arise out of domestic disputes. And when they do, Colorado's domestic violence sentencing laws will place you under a mandatory domestic violence protective order -- even if the property damage was accidental.
Consequences of a criminal mischief conviction
Penalties for criminal mischief in Colorado depend entirely on the aggregate value of the property damaged:
Less than $300
Colorado class 3 misdemeanor with possible penalties of:
- Up to 6 months in jail, and/or
- A fine of $50-$750.
$300 or more, but less than $750
Colorado class 2 misdemeanor with possible penalties of:
- 3 - 12 months in jail, and/or
- A fine of $250-$1,000.
$750 or more, but less than $1,000
Colorado class 1 misdemeanor with possible penalties of:
- 6 -18 months in jail, and/or
- A fine of $500-$5,000.
$1,000 or more, but less than $5,000
Colorado class 6 felony with possible penalties of:
- 1 – 1 ½ years in prison, and/or
- A fine of $1,000-$100,000.
$5,000 or more, but less than $20,000
Colorado class 5 felony with possible penalties of:
- 1 - 3 years in prison, and/or
- A fine of $1,000-$100,000.
$20,000 or more, but less than $100,000
Colorado class 4 felony with possible penalties of:
- 2 - 6 years in prison, and/or
- A fine of $2,000-$500,000.
$100,000 or more, but less than $1,000,000
Colorado class 3 felony with possible penalties of:
- 4 - 12 years in prison, and/or
- A fine of $3,000-$750,000.
$1,000,000 or more
Colorado class 2 felony with possible penalties of:
- 8 - 24 years in prison, and/or
- A fine of $5,000-$1,000,000.
Defending criminal mischief charges
The best defense to a charge of Colorado criminal mischief depends on the facts of your cases. Criminal mischief defenses in Colorado often include, however:
- No property was destroyed.
- Property was destroyed, but you didn't do it.
- It was an accident.
- The property was worth much less than claimed.
Call us for help…
Criminal mischief charges are often brought when something of value is damaged or destroyed during an argument – even if the damage was accidental.
As a result, innocent people end up having to go through the often-frightening process of arrest, jail and arraignment based on a simple misunderstanding.
If you or someone you know has been accused of criminal mischief in Colorado, we invite you to contact us for a free consultation. One of our experienced Colorado criminal defense lawyers or our caring Denver domestic violence attorneys will get back to you quickly to discuss your case.
A Colorado criminal mischief charge can be quite scary – but we are here to help. Our firm also helps clients with bail and release issues at jails throughout Colorado, including the Broomfield Jail & Detention Center.
Contact us through the form on this page, or call us at our centrally located Denver office:
Colorado Legal Defense Group
4047 Tejon Street
Denver CO 80211
Arrested in California? Read our article on California vandalism laws (Penal Code 594 PC).
Arrested in Nevada? Read our article on Nevada vandalism laws (NRS 206.310).