Mischief is done when a person willfully damages or destroys property with no intent to steal it or renders it dangerous, useless, inoperative, or ineffective. It is also done when a person obstructs, interrupts, or interferes with the lawful use or enjoyment of the property. If you are damaging your own property, then that is not construed as mischief.
Activities That Can Lead to Charges of Mischief
In its most broad definition, mischief covers almost all circumstances that lead to the damage of another person’s property. Examples of mischief or mischievous activities include:
- Damaging someone else’s home or vehicle
- Damaging public or private property
- Acts of vandalism or graffiti (tagging) on public or private property
- Acts performed on someone’s data, such as destroying or altering it, rendering data meaningless or ineffective, or obstructing and interfering with the lawful use of data or information
What Must Be Proven in a Mischief Case?
In order for the Crown to prove guilt, the action must be seen as having been performed willfully. Sometimes recklessness is all that suffices to prove intent. An accused person may still be found guilty even if there was no intent to cause the degree of damage that occurred.
Potential defences in these cases will depend on the circumstances of the charges, the strength of the case, any statements that you may have released, and possible extenuating circumstances.
Penalties for a Mischief Conviction
Penalties range widely due to the variety of mischievous activities that can be performed and the degree of their gravity. The penalty for mischief that causes actual danger to life is an indictable offence that can result in imprisonment for life.
The penalty for committing mischief to a property that is a testamentary instrument or property that is valued at an amount exceeding $5000 is an indictable offence that can result in imprisonment for up to ten years or an offence punishable on summary conviction.
If it’s property otherwise mentioned, the penalty is an indictable offence liable to imprisonment for up to ten years or an offence punishable on summary conviction.
How Can I Avoid Jail?
Sometimes, depending on the circumstances of the accused, the case may be dealt with through a restorative justice program. To do this, the defendant’s lawyer proposes to deal with the matter outside the court so that the file can be moved to a corrections officer who will assess the accused and start him up in the restorative justice program. That’s why it is important to get an experienced criminal lawyer to counsel you when faced with a charge of mischief.
If you are faced with a charge of mischief, do not limit your options by simply pleading guilty. Kruse Law Firm can offer different valid defences according to your particular case and your circumstances. Contact us today, or call 1-800-699-0806 to obtain expert counsel and protect your future.