Criminal Attorneys & DWI Lawyers in Covington, New Orleans, and Shreveport Louisiana
Criminal Mischief in Louisiana
Facing Criminal Mischief Charges In Louisiana?
Are you facing criminal mischief charges in Louisiana? You may not realize it- but getting arrested for criminal mischief in this state is a very big deal. At the Barkemeyer Law Firm, we have defended many clients with criminal mischief charges in all areas of Louisiana, from Shreveport to New Orleans and many areas in between.
Our criminal defense attorneys are seasoned criminal mischief lawyers. We have seen many different fact scenarios when it comes to this charge. We know how to work out these cases to protect our clients from jail as well as their criminal record. Please contact us today to get more information on how Barkemeyer Law Firm can help you through this difficult time.
Check This Out If You’ve Been Arrested For Criminal Mischief!
Use this video as a means of learning a little bit about the general laws surrounding criminal mischief charges.
Criminal Mischief Laws In Louisiana
Here’s what you need to know surrounding criminal mischief laws in Louisiana.
Possible Jail Time
The most important thing to know if you have received a summons for criminal mischief in Louisiana is that it is a charge that carries up to six months in jail. If you decide to just go to court and plead guilty to the charge without an attorney, you will be at the mercy of the judge during sentencing. If the judge does not like the acts that you are accused of, he could have you remanded immediately and ordered serve up to six months in parish prison. He may just give you one or two months in jail. Even if the judge does not give you a prison sentence, he could place you on probation for up to 2 years and hang jail time over your head if you mess up during probation. He could order as conditions of probation that you complete classes, community service, and pay probation fees, fines, and court costs.
Criminal Conviction on Your Record
Then, you would have a criminal mischief conviction on your record. So, if any potential employer, landlord, or bank runs your criminal background, they would see that you have been convicted of criminal mischief. Ask yourself why an employer would want to hire someone convicted of criminal mischief? In some of our cases, we may work out a deal for a criminal mischief conviction because it is a much better charge than the other charges our client has. We always try to make it so our client has the option of removing it from their criminal record.
PRO TIP: If you have a criminal record – Barkemeyer Law Firm will additionally handle expungements for clients who have been arrested in Louisiana. If you would like to learn more about this- please contact us for a consultation.
What is Criminal Mischief?
The first question our clients always have is “why did I get a criminal mischief charge.” The statute for criminal mischief encompasses a lot of different behaviors. Police officers will often charge someone with criminal mischief when they feel like the defendant has done something offensive or illegal but it does not fit a specific statute. The acts will likely fall within the criminal mischief statute of La. R.S. 14:59. Many times, the officer will tack on a criminal mischief charge along with other charges such as disturbing the peace, criminal damage to property, or theft. Let’s get into some examples of criminal mischief. Obviously, there are many more fact scenarios. But, this will give you some idea of what criminal mischief is.
Examples Of Criminal Mischief In Louisiana
Tampering With Any Property of Another
Criminal mischief is the intentional tampering with any property of another, without the consent of the owner, with the intent to interfere with the free enjoyment of any rights of anyone thereto, or with the intent to deprive anyone entitled thereto of the full use of the property. For instance, if the defendant is in a store changing price tags or trying to remove theft detection devices, a police officer may charge her with criminal mischief. Also, any sort of vandalism would fall under this statute as well as the criminal damage to property statute. Basically, criminal mischief under this provision is when the defendant intentionally messes with the property of another.
Giving of Any False Alarm
Criminal mischief is the intentional giving of any false alarm of fire or notice which would reasonably result in emergency response. It is illegal under this law to pull a false fire alarm. Usually you see kids and mentally disabled people get accused of criminal mischief under this provision. It creates a lot of disruption to give notice to the police of a fire. Many first responders must act immediately and travel to the scene. The potential threat of a fire causes stress to people present. This disruption is why the legislature has such a harsh penalty for false fire alarms.
Driving of Tack Into a Tree
Criminal mischief is the intentional driving of any tack, nail, spike or metal over one and one-half inch in length into any tree located on lands belonging to another, without the consent of the owner, or without the later removal of the object from the tree. This provision makes it illegal to put nails in trees without consent from the owner. The reason is that the nails can damage or kill the tree. This is similar to the provision that prevents messing with another’s property. Damaging or killing a person’s tree may result in less enjoyment of their property.
Cutting State Highway Trees
Criminal mischief is the intentional the felling, topping, or pruning of trees or shrubs within the right-of-way of a state highway, without prior written approval of the chief engineer of the Department of Transportation and Development or his designated representative, provided prior written approval is not required for agents or employees of public utility companies in situations of emergency where the person or property of others is endangered. You can only legally cut or trim trees that you own and that are not part of the right of way for the State.
False Police Report
Criminal mischief is the intentional giving of any false report or complaint to a sheriff, or his deputies, or to any officer of the law relative to the commission of, or an attempt to commit, a crime. This is a common crime. If you call the police on your boyfriend and make up a story about how he is committing a crime because you are mad at him, you could get charged with criminal mischief. The legislature has made it illegal to make false police reports because it is disruptive to the police and requires them to spend time and resources to respond to the false report.
Throwing Objects into the Road
Criminal mischief is the intentional throwing of any stone or any other missile in any street, avenue, alley, road, highway, open space, public square, or enclosure, or throwing any stone, missile, or other object from any place into any street, avenue, road, highway, alley, open space, public square, enclosure, or at any train, railway car, or locomotive. Obviously, this is illegal because it could cause a lot of damage. If nobody was hurt or no damage occurred, the defendant would still have a charge for criminal mischief. The judge would likely give him 6 months in jail for this. If it is alleged he did it multiple times, the DA could charge him with multiple counts of criminal mischief. The judge could order 6 months in jail on each count.
Taking Temporary Possession of a Place of Business
Criminal mischief is the intentional taking temporary possession of any part or parts of a place of business, or remaining in a place of business after the person in charge of such business or portion of such business has directed such person to leave the premises and to desist from the temporary possession of any part or parts of such business. This provision encompasses the scenario when an employee gets fired but refuses to leave or makes a scene disrupting the business. The law makes it illegal to stay because the employee could have access to important files or information of the business. The employee could then steal that information. If you get fired, grab your belongings and leave the business immediately. If you stick around after being told to leave, get ready for the police.
Disrupting Water Service
Criminal mischief is the intentional communication to any person for the purpose of disrupting any public utility water service, when the communication causes any officer, employee, or agent of the service reasonably to be placed in sustained fear for his or another person’s safety, or causes the evacuation of a water service building, or causes any discontinuance of any water services. It is illegal to call the water company and tell them you did something to the water supply. That would cause the utility service company to have to react by testing and investigating.
Shooting at a Train
Criminal mischief is the intentional discharging of any firearm at a train, locomotive, or railway car. Sorry to break it to you, but if you’re caught shooting at a train, you could go to jail. It is illegal to shoot at a train.
As you can see criminal mischief charges can be very serious. Often times, they will be accompanied by other charges as well. But we know how to successfully defend these charges. If you or someone you know has a criminal mischief charge, contact one of our locations.
CONTACT ONE OF OUR LOUISIANA OFFICE LOCATIONS
Louisiana Criminal Lawyers
Louisiana criminal lawyers and DWI attorneys at the Barkemeyer Law Firm providing legal defense services for clients in New Orleans, Metairie, Kenner, Gretna, Hahnville, Belle Chasse, St. Bernard, Slidell, St. Tammany, St. Charles, St. John, Laplace, Mandeville, Covington, Shreveport, Bossier, and Jefferson.
DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is not formal legal advice nor does it create an attorney-client relationship.