Criminal Damage


 The State of Arizona prohibits a person from intentionally or recklessly damaging another's property. If you have been arrested and charged with criminal damage, you can be prosecuted for a misdemeanor or felony offense and face probation, jail or prison time.  Being accused of criminal damage places you at risk of having a permanent conviction on your record.  Consequently,  you should consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney to defend your rights and obtain the best possible outcome for you.  Attorney, Raymond Kimble is a former police detective and felony prosecutor who has been representing people charged with criminal offenses for the past twenty years.  Mr. Kimble has represented hundreds of individuals charged with criminal damage throughout Arizona and has achieved tremendous results for his clients.

Criminal Damage Defined:

There are actually two separate statutes under which a person can be prosecuted for criminal damage.  The first, A.R.S. 13-1602 states that it is unlawful to:

1. Recklessly deface or damage property of another person.

2. Recklessly tamper with property of another person so as substantially to impair its function or value.

3. Recklessly damage property of a utility.

4. Recklessly park any vehicle in such a manner as to deprive livestock of access to the only reasonably available water.

5. Recklessly draw or inscribe a message, slogan, sign or symbol that is made on any public or private building, structure or surface, except the ground, and that is made without permission of the owner.

6. Intentionally tamper with utility property

The second criminal damage statute, A.R.S. 13-1604 is referred to as Aggravated Criminal Damage and prohibits:

1. Defacing, damaging or in any way changing the appearance of any building, structure, personal property or place used for worship or any religious purpose.

2. Defacing or damaging any building, structure or place used as a school or as an educational facility.

3. Defacing, damaging or tampering with any cemetery, mortuary or personal property of the cemetery or mortuary or other facility used for the purpose of burial or memorializing the dead.

4. Defacing, damaging or tampering with any utility or agricultural infrastructure or property, construction site or existing structure for the purpose of obtaining nonferrous metals.

Penalties for Criminal Damage Convictions:

Depending upon the amount of damage caused and the type of property which is vandalized,  criminal damage in Arizona can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or felony crime. Whether a misdemeanor or felony, people convicted of criminal damage will have a permanent mark on their record, can be required to pay for the damages they caused, may be placed on probation and can be ordered to  serve time in jail or prison. 

Criminal damage which doesn't involve an educational facility, place or worship or mortuary can be punished as follows:

1. Criminal damage is a class 4 felony if the person recklessly damages property of another in an amount of ten thousand dollars or more. A class four felony may result in a prison sentence between 1 and 3.75 years.

2. Criminal damage is a class 4 felony if the person recklessly damages the property of a utility in an amount of five thousand dollars or more or if the person intentionally tampers with utility property and the damage causes an imminent safety hazard to any person.

3. Criminal damage is a class 5 felony if the person recklessly damages property of another in an amount of two thousand dollars or more but less than ten thousand dollars or if the damage is inflicted to promote, further or assist any criminal street gang or criminal syndicate. The presumptive prison term for a class five felony is eighteen months.

4. Criminal damage is a class 6 felony and can be punished by up to two years in prison if the person recklessly damages property of another in an amount of one thousand dollars or more but less than two thousand dollars.

5. Criminal damage is a class 1 misdemeanor if the person recklessly damages property of another in an amount of more than two hundred fifty dollars but less than one thousand dollars. The maximum penalty for a class one misdemeanor is six months jail and a $2,500 fine.

For an Aggravated Criminal Damage Charge:

A person can be convicted of up to a class 3 felony and face a prison sentence between 2 and 8.75 years.  

Defending Against a Criminal Damage Charge:

Although criminal damage charges are serious and can be aggressively prosecuted, an experienced criminal defense attorney can be of great value in investigating your case, researching any legal issues, recognizing important defenses and negotiating the most favorable result possible.  Some of the common defenses which may be available to defend against a criminal damage charge include:

1. No Criminal Intent - To be convicted of criminal damage, the prosecutor must prove that you acted recklessly.  Many times, people cause damage to property by accident.  Simple negligence is not a criminal act and should not result in a criminal damage conviction.

2. Value of Property Damaged - Often times, the prosecutor will over estimate the value of property which was allegedly damaged.  This can result in the difference between a misdemeanor and felony prosecution or cause you to be prosecuted for a more serious offense and face harsher penalties. Obtaining expert opinions or evidence concerning the actual value of the property damaged can assist in achieving a favorable result.

3. Violations of Constitutional Rights -    When police violate your Miranda rights or search you or your property without lawful authority, important evidence can be excluded.  Consequently, the prosecutor's case may weaken which can lead to a dismissal or reduction in charges.     

Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer

Call (480) 833-8613 for Immediate Help

Raymond Kimble has been defending  Arizona residents for twenty years and has a long history of success. Those who have been arrested and charged with criminal damage can look to Mr. Kimble for the experienced legal defense that they need. Mr. Kimble knows how to prepare a solid defense, challenge the prosecution's evidence and negotiate a reduction or dismissal of the charges.

With a seasoned Tempe criminal defense lawyer on your case, you will have your rights protected as your attorney fights to secure a favorable outcome on your behalf. Attorney Raymond Kimble has successfully represented hundreds of individuals throughout Arizona over the last twenty years who have been charged with criminal damage and other misdemeanor and felony crimes.  Mr. Kimble regularly represents people in Maricopa County Superior Court, Pinal County Superior Court as well as the cities of Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe, Chandler, Gilbert,  Mesa and other surrounding areas.