An overview of vandalism charges in MA and how an attorney can help you
Vandalism charges and the legal repercussions vary from state to state. Fines and legal consequences in Massachusetts can range from minimal fines to up to 10 years in jail. Below, we offer an overview of what constitutes a vandalism charge and how an experienced and capable criminal attorney can help you.
If you are in the Worcester, Massachusetts area and are facing vandalism charges, contact Murphy & Rudolf, LLP for a free consultation online or by phone: 508-762-1397. We are ready to provide you the aggressive and thorough legal representation you deserve.
What counts as a vandalism charge?
In Massachusetts there are six principal statutes that address vandalism charges, however, the law is not limited only to these relevant statues. Part of why it is important to hire an attorney to help handle your case is to be able to discern which of these statues are most relevant to your case and how to build a defense from there.
In Massachusetts, vandalism is referred to as malicious damage: the unlawful damage or destruction of someone’s property. FindLaw outlines that these misdeeds can include, but are not limited to:
- Tire slashing
- Defacing a mural
However, part of what dictates vandalism legal repercussions and charges lays with the intent of the person being charged with committing the crime. That is to say, the state will be looking to define the alleged perpetrator’s state of mind during the act of vandalism.
Malicious damage vs vandalism misdemeanor
In order for the State of Massachusetts to successfully convict someone of their malicious vandalism (or malicious damage) charges, they must prove that the defendant destroyed the property willfully and with malice.
Malicious damage means that the vandalism charges can demonstrate that you committed the offense with “ill will and the intent to do harm.” As articulated in FindLaw, the “willful destruction of property” is a felony offense. This differs from an offense that proves reckless but without ill intention. “Wanton destruction of property,” though still a vandalism charge, is seen as a misdemeanor offense.
How an attorney will defend you against your vandalism charges
Because of how the Massachusetts statutes stipulate the grounds for malicious destruction of property, the Commonwealth must demonstrate that you destroyed the property with cruelty, hostility, or out of a sense of revenge. This encompasses a very specific set of circumstances and plays an important role in how a criminal defense attorney can build a case against the vandalism charges.
Murphy & Rudolf criminal defense attorneys offer aggressive and experienced representation, whether you are charged with malicious or wanton destruction of property.
Penalties associated with vandalism charges in Massachusetts
Penalties and legal repercussions vary depending on the case and what the Commonwealth can prove. For example, if you are convicted of malicious destruction of property over $250, you may face a penalty of up to ten years in state prison and fines of up to $3,000.
The best way to understand what penalties you may be facing is to speak to an attorney so they can properly assess your case. The legal team of Worcester criminal defense attorneys at Murphy & Rudolf, LLP can work with investigators and experts to develop a litigation plan that takes into account all of the elements of your case.