Malicious Destruction of Property Attorney in Michigan
Under Michigan law, it is a crime to intentionally and maliciously damage someone else’s property. This crime, known as malicious destruction of property, or MDOP, can result in a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the extent of the damage, the criminal history of the alleged offender, and other circumstances associated with the charge. Furthermore, if you allegedly damage police or fire department property, school buses, bridges, or water structures, you may be looking at a felony.
Due to the elevated and severe penalties associated with this crime, it’s critical to contact an esteemed and experienced Michigan property destruction attorney. With the help of the criminal defense lawyers at Grabel & Associates, you are ensured comprehensive communication with your attorney as well as a vigorous, thorough criminal defense. By defending you, our main objective is to achieve dropped or dismissed charges, an innocent verdict, or, if the evidence is truly stacked against you, a reduced or alternative sentencing. If you’ve been charged with this crime, don’t hesitate and contact the leading property destruction defense attorneys in Michigan. Call Grabel & Associates today at 1-800-342-7896. Free consultations are available.
What is Malicious Destruction of Property?
Malicious destruction of property is found in the Michigan Penal Code in § 750.377a, and it describes the conditions of punishment for a criminal violation (whether the alleged crime was a misdemeanor or felony). In essence, the courts may view defendants in the following ways:
- It was an isolated incident, whereas the defendant acted impulsively or inappropriately.
- Youthful or juvenile offenders engaged in random acts of misconduct, such as breaking windows, damaging school property, keying motor vehicles, committing graffiti, and so forth. Juveniles aged between 17 and 24 may be eligible for a disposition pursuant to the Michigan Holmes Youthful Trainee Act (HYAT), which allows juveniles to get special sentencing treatment.
- Adult offenders who, in many cases, destroy property while committing assault or domestic violence. Intoxication is commonly a factor as well. In property destruction and domestic violence cases, offenders may be eligible for a plea bargain for a dismissal after a period of probation (MCL § 771.1).
In addition to malicious destruction of property, you can also be charged with other violations depending on the circumstances of the alleged offense, such as:
- Burning a home or dwelling (MCL 750.72), a felony with a potential sentence of up to 20 years in prison.
- Burning any Real Property (MCL 750.73), a felony with a potential sentence of up to 10 years in prison.
- Burning of Personal Property (MCL 750.74), carrying a punishment corresponding to the property damage and other circumstances.
- Willfully and Maliciously Setting Fire (MCL 750.77).
- Burning Insured Property (MCL 750.75), a felony with a potential sentence of up to 10 years in prison.
- Willfully or Negligently Setting Fire to Woods, Prairies or Grounds (MCL 750.78).
Felony Malicious Destruction of Property
The most serious type of malicious destruction of property involves extensive and costly damage. For instance, if any of the following apply, you will face a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and fines of up to $15,000 or three times the value of the damage, whichever is greater.
- The value of damage is greater than $20,000, or
- You have 2 or more prior convictions of malicious destruction.
For damaging between $1,000 and $20,000, and if you have a prior conviction, you could be looking at a felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison and fines as much as $10,000 or three times the value of the property damage, whichever is greater.
Misdemeanor Malicious Destruction of Property
The courts and prosecution consider both the value of the property and the defendant’s criminal history. However, if the value of the property is less than $1,000, and you have no prior convictions, you will most likely be looking at a misdemeanor. If the value of the property is between $200 and $1,000, or less than $200 but you have a prior conviction, then your misdemeanor can include up to a year in jail and fines up to $2,000 or three times the value of the damage, whichever is greater.
For destroying less than $200 worth of property, and with no prior convictions, you may face up to 93 days in jail and fines up to $500 or three times the amount of the damage, whichever is greater.
How a Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help
Malicious destruction of property is taken very seriously in Michigan courts, and defendants can face little leniency, especially if the defendant was a multiple offender and the value of the damage was high. Nonetheless, with the help of experienced criminal defense attorneys, you can present a vigorous defense with the goal of achieving dropped or dismissed charges, an innocent verdict, or a reduced or alternative sentencing.
If you were charged with malicious destruction of property, don’t hesitate and contact your defense lawyers at Grabel & Associates. Free consultations are available, and the sooner we can get started on your case, the better.