Criminal Mischief Charges in New Jersey

Today I’m going to talk to you about a crime or offense known as criminal mischief. Criminal mischief is essentially doing damage to property that is not yours. It can include ** of car, slicing tires throwing eggs through windows on mischief night whatever the case may be breaking your girlfriend’s phone when you’re aggravated with her. Any of these charges could give rise to a criminal mischief complaint.

Now it all depends on the amount of the damage done that will determine how your charges are graded. If it’s under $500, this is typically what I see most of the cases are under $500, they are graded as disorderly person charges they will be handled in the local municipal court in the town in which you are charged. Now it’s important to remember that if you have no prior record you are eligible for a new program that just started called a conditional dismissal. If all else fails we can’t get the case thrown out in court based on any technicalities or based on working out a deal with the prosecutor the conditional dismissal allows your charges to be dismissed at the end of your probationary period. However, you do have to plead guilty to the offense in order to get into the conditional dismissal program. You go to court, you plead guilty, they suspend your charges for the period of your probation you stay out of trouble during that period of probation and at the end of your probationary period the charges are dropped. You can only use that once in your life so this would be the one time you are eligible.

Now you may ask what happens if I violate my probation? Well, they already have your guilty plea, so it’s important not to violate your probation because if you violate your probation your charges come back and they already have your guilty plea on the record so then all the judge really has to do is sentence you and now you will have this charge on your record. Any higher damages such as over $500, these will be handled at the Superior Court. They will be felony level charges and again at the County you are eligible for PTI, it’s similar to conditional dismissal and the charges would be dismissed at the end of your probation.

Now you don’t have to plead guilty to get into PTI so that’s an important distinction to remember. Also either at the county or a municipal court the biggest thing that they’re worried about is getting the money back for whatever damages done. So, usually you’re going to have to pay restitution in order to get into program. However, much a cost to fix whatever property was damaged and they’ll allow you into the program.