Criminal mischief sounds as though it is a minor charge of little damage when it is filed, but the truth is it can be a very serious legal matter in some instances in Colorado. The name sounds as though it is a minor legal matter, but the name is a general description for an assortment of actions by any particular perpetrator. Colorado prosecutors file criminal mischief charges on a regular basis, including cases against juveniles where parents can be held financially liable to a major degree. And, even though some cases are indeed minor, others can lead to very serious criminal convictions and will generate a significant criminal record.
The most dominant type of criminal mischief involves property crimes such as defacing. Any willful intent damage to personal property falls into this criminal category. This not only includes defacing of buildings and homes, but also includes damage to automobiles such as tire slashing.
Criminal mischief charges in Colorado fall into several categories. Most charges are filed as misdemeanors based on the amount of damage, but there are cases that could rise to the level of a felony when using the value sliding scale. They range from a Class 3 misdemeanor for property damage under $300 to a Class 1 misdemeanor for property damage between $750 and $1000. Additionally, there are multiple felony classes ranging from Class 6 felony from $1000 to a Class 2 felony for damage over $1 million. Class 5 felony is between $5000-$20,000 with the graduating scales above being set at $20,000 to $100,000 for Class 4 and $100,000 to $1 million for Class 3 felony incidents.
Criminal mischief becomes a very serious case when filed as a felony because punishment is in addition to required restitution in most cases. It can take years for a case to finally be resolved due to this comprehensive sentencing guideline.