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Criminal Mischief

Jackson NJ Criminal Mischief Lawyer

The offense of criminal mischief can be much more serious than you might anticipate. Whether the result of a childish act of vandalism, destruction of property having significant value, graffiti or another some of act that causes damage, you are exposed to serious penalties under the New Jersey criminal mischief law. Retaining a qualified lawyer to represent you is probably the biggest thing you can do to help protect yourself from the pitfalls of a charge for criminal mischief. The team of eight defense attorneys at Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall have been defending individuals charged with criminal mischief in Toms River, Brick, Jackson, Manchester, Berkeley and other Ocean County towns for over 100 years between us. Several of our lawyers also happen to be former prosecutors at either the county level or in municipal court, including in Brick Township, Berkeley, Toms River, Manchester and Jackson. For a free consultation with an attorney, contact our Toms River Office by calling (732) 286-6500.

Criminal Mischief Offense in Ocean County

Every criminal complaint or indictment charging an individual with criminal mischief is filed under N.J.S.A. 2C:17-3. An individual commits this violation in one of three ways. The first and primary way that a criminal mischief charge arises is when someone purposely or knowingly causes damage to the property of another person. The second scenario in which criminal mischief occurs is when property is damaged as a result of reckless or negligent use of fire, explosives or other dangerous apparatuses.  The third and final situation that can result in a criminal mischief offense is where a defendant purposely, knowingly, or recklessly tampers with property.

Grading & Penalties for Criminal Mischief

You can face criminal mischief as a second degree crime, third degree crime, fourth degree crime or disorderly persons offense. The chart below outlines what is required in order for each grade of criminal mischief to arise and the penalties that apply under each scenario.


When This Grade Applies



Second Degree

Purposely or knowingly tampering with a safety device or aviation facility resulting in the death to another person.


5-10 Years

Third Degree

Purposely or knowingly causing property damage of $2,000 or more; damage to a research facility; damages or tampers with a safety device resulting in bodily injury to another person; tampers or damages a grave, a crypt, mausoleum or other site where human remains are stored; or purposely or knowingly causing a substantial interruption or impairment of public communication, transportation, supply of water, oil, gas or power, or other public service.


Up to 5 Years

Fourth Degree

Purposely or knowingly causing property damage of at least $500 but less than $2,000; damaging, removing or impairing a safety device; or purposely or knowingly causing damage to pipes or mains for conducting gas, oil or water, or any erected works that supply buildings with gas, oil or water.


Up to 18 Months

Disorderly Persons


Purposely or knowingly causing property damage of less than $500.


Up to 6 Months

Manchester NJ Criminal Mischief Defense Attorney

A criminal mischief offense certainly has the potential to result in severe penalties as you can see. Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall has a team of skilled lawyers will insure that you have every chance of avoiding the consequences of the criminal mischief charge that was filed against you in Little Egg Harbor, Lacey, Ocean Township, Barnegat, Stafford or elsewhere in the county. Our attorneys have the experience needed to insure you escape the pitfalls that come with a criminal mischief conviction. An attorney on our defense team is available 24/7 for free consultations by calling (732) 286-6500. A lawyer is ready to assist you now.

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