What amounts to criminal damages to one’s property? Well, it is a broader category covering all kinds of property damages resulting from encroachment on another individual’s right to use the property. The laws and punishment in this aspect greatly vary from one state to the next.

Criminal damages to property involve different kinds of violations. In most states, such damages are defined as an intentional intrusion or activity that,

  • Jeopardizes public safety
  • Interferes with sewage or transportation
  • Causes interference with otherwise smooth operation of public utilities

Criminal damages to property have potentials to cause harm – mild or severe – to human life. On the other hand, civil property violations involve only property damages. In addition, ‘property crime’ is a term used to encompass theft or conversion of an individual’s personal property. If it comes to “Damage to Property”, the term always refers to physical damage to the property.

Different Types of Criminal Damages to Property

Several kinds of violations are, according to law, defined as criminal damages to property. Details are subject to the type of jurisdiction. Followings are the commonest types of criminal property damages:

  • Criminal Tampering: It happens when an individual deliberately impairs or interferes with utility services for public. The crime also defines unwanted or unlawful meddling with other’s property or altering the same.
  • Criminal Mischief: The crime involves property damage costing a particular sum. It implies that the defendant intentionally caused harm to the property without having any rights to do so.
  • Criminal Desecration: This type involves destruction, defecation or injury to any monument, tomb, gravestone or other memorial built in memory of the departed person. Some local laws even prohibit removal or cutting of any tree, plant, flower or decoration within a graveyard or cemetery.
  • Possession/Use of a Hazardous Substance: It involves planting hazardous substance onto other person’s premise. The act must happen without the owner’s permission and must be in clear interference with the intended use of the property.
  • Littering: Some kinds of littering in particular public places are considered a grave criminal offense.

All the above-mentioned criminal offenses largely vary between states. Therefore, you should consult with an experienced local theft and property crimes attorney to be aware of what kinds of activities amount to criminal property damages.

Legal Consequences of Criminal Damages to Property

Criminal damages to property are generally classified as a misdemeanour or a severe misdemeanour. Such crimes lead to fines, short-time imprisonment or both. However, in the event of serious offences or repeat crimes, the culprit may even face felony charges. These charges may result into jail term for more than one year and/or heavy fine.

A unique aspect of charges for criminal damages to property is the defendant is often obliged to pay criminal restitution to the property owner. The term ‘restitution’ often refers to the money that the defendant has to pay the victim as compensation for the economic loss.


Criminal damages to property often lead to dire consequences. Reach out to an eminent attorney if you are facing such a charge. The lawyer will be of great help when you will be undergoing trials.