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Criminal Damage and What It Means in Arizona

Criminal damage is a crime against property and is a charge that can lead to prison or jail time, fines, and costs to repair the damaged property. A criminal damage offense is often charged alongside other crimes, like theft, where property is damaged and broken in the commission of the offense.

If you or someone you care for has been charged with criminal damage, an experienced Arizona defense attorney will take your case to protect your constitutional rights. You do not have to fight your charges alone.

How does Arizona define Criminal Damage?

A person can commit criminal damage in a number of different ways, according to A.R.S. 13-1602:

  • Recklessly defacing or damaging property.
  • Recklessly tampering with property of another person so as substantially to impair its function or value.
  • Recklessly damaging property of a utility.
  • Recklessly parking any vehicle in such a manner as to deprive livestock of access to the only reasonably available water.
  • Recklessly drawing a message, slogan, sign, or symbol on any public or private building without permission of the owner.
  • Intentionally tampering with utility property.

How is "recklessness" defined in Arizona?

Almost all but one of the criminal damage variations above-listed require reckless conduct. Arizona defines the word "reckless" to mean that:

a person is aware of and consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the result will occur or that the circumstance exists. The risk must be of such nature and degree that disregard of such risk constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of conduct that a reasonable person would observe in the situation. A person who creates such a risk but who is unaware of such risk solely by reason of voluntary intoxication also acts recklessly with respect to such risk.

If a person acts without regard to the consequences of his or her actions, those actions may be considered reckless, and so the person could be charged with criminal damage.

Penalties for Criminal Damage in Arizona

Three factors are used to determine the dollar value of any property damage.

  1. The cost of labor to repair the damage.
  2. The cost of material to repair the damage.
  3. The cost of equipment to repair the damage.

Penalties for criminal damage are based on the value of the property. This means if the property is valued at ...

  • Less than $250, a Class 2 misdemeanor, you can spend up to four months in jail.
  • $250 to $1,000, a Class 1 misdemeanor, you can spend up to six months in jail.
  • $1,000 to $2,000, a Class 6 felony, you can spend up to one year in jail or prison.
  • $2,000 to $10,000, a Class 5 felony, you can spend up to 18 months in jail or prison.
  • More than $10,000, a Class 4 felony, you can spend up to 2.5 years in prison.
  • $5,000 or more for intentional damage to a utility, a Class 4 felony, you can spend up to 2.5 years in prison. (This is also considered aggravated criminal damage.)

Consult an Arizona Criminal Defense Attorney

If you have been charged with criminal damage in Arizona, an experienced attorney at the The Hamp Law Offices can represent you in your defense.

We serve clients in Mohave, Yavapai, La Paz, and Coconino Counties, including the communities of Kingman, Bullhead City, Lake Havasu, Parker, Prescott, Williams, and Flagstaff, Arizona. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Contact Us Today

If you have been arrested or charged with a crime, you may be feeling frightened, anxious, and uncertain of what your future holds. The competent and experienced attorneys at the Hamp Law Offices can help you during this difficult time. We are dedicated to fighting for the rights of our clients and providing excellent legal representation to those who have been accused of a crime. Contact our firm today to discuss your case.