Man in handcuffs for theft

What Is a Criminal Mischief Charge?

As more and more protests occur across the U.S., people on both sides have begun to engage in what would ordinarily be considered criminal behavior. But without a better plan in place, police officers in Texas have often arrested people and charged them with criminal mischief. But what is criminal mischief anyway?

Criminal mischief can be looked at as an umbrella term for a number of different criminal acts, which vary greatly in terms of severity. Under the Texas Penal Code, the definition of criminal mischief adds up to the willful destruction of another’s personal property. So for example, in many cities across the country a lot of city property has been destroyed and looting has occurred. 

Other acts of criminal mischief include:


Another form of criminal mischief that has been widely occurring is vandalism. Vandalism is the defacing of property that you do not own regardless of whether or not it’s public. Acts of vandalism include graffiti, tearing down street signs, and any other type of damages to another’s property. The higher the value of the property vandalized, the more serious the crime can become.  


As mentioned, many of the recent protests have turned into riots. Riots involve the damage of property that is not yours. Regardless of the reason, if you are found to have participated in a riot, you can face criminal mischief charges.


Even pranks can be considered criminal mischief depending upon damages they cause. For instance, while you may think that egging someone’s house is a simple joke, if it causes damage to the house you will be responsible for the damages and charged with criminal mischief. 


The penalty for criminal mischief changes based upon the cost that it would take to repair the damage. Therefore penalties for criminal mischief can range from a Class C misdemeanor to a first-degree felony. Again, it depends upon the value of the damage you have caused.

Damage to property amounting to:

  • Less than $100 – Class C Misdemeanor with up to $500 in fines
  • $100-$750 – Class B Misdemeanor with up to 180 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,000
  • $750-$2,500 – Class A Misdemeanor with up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $4,000
  • $2,500-$30,000 – State Jail Felony with 180 days to 2 years in jail and/or a fine of up to $10,000
  • $30,000-$150,000 – Third Degree Felony with 2-10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000
  • $150,000-$300,000 – Second Degree Felony with 2-20 year in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000
  • Greater than $300,000 – First Degree Felony with 5-99 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000

It’s easy to get caught up in the moment when you are passionately protesting or playing a prank on a neighbor. But it’s extremely important to keep in mind that the value of the damage you do can very quickly add up. The best thing to do is to avoid damaging any property that doesn’t belong to you. 

The Attorneys at Ceja Law Firm Help Those in Houston Who Desire to Have Been Charged with Criminal Mischief

If you have been charged with criminal mischief in Texas, a conviction could greatly impact your life – even long-term. This is why it’s so important to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced criminal law attorney.

At Ceja Law Firm PLLC, we understand the repercussions that a criminal conviction can have on your life. That’s why we will work to help you obtain the best possible outcome. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, contact us today!