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NY Penal Law § 145.00: Criminal Mischief in the Fourth Degree

Criminal mischief is one of several crimes in New York Penal Law that is designed to punish those who damage the property of another person. If you damage someone else's property without the permission of the property's owner, you would have committed criminal mischief. Criminal mischief is commonly referred to as vandalism. There are four criminal mischief offenses in the New York criminal code. Criminal mischief in the fourth degree is the least serious criminal mischief crime. Under New York Penal Law § 145.00 you have committed the crime of criminal mischief in the fourth degree if you do the following:

  1. Intentionally damage another person’s property regardless of the amount of damage,
  2. Participate in the destruction of an abandoned building; or
  3. Recklessly damage someone else’s property in an amount that exceeds $250.

Brandon and Fred were at Fred's house. They got into a heated argument over politics. Fred ordered Brandon to leave. As he walked toward the door, Brandon nonchalantly pushed Fred's laptop computer off the table on to the floor. The screen cracked. Brandon could be prosecuted for criminal mischief in the fourth degree. It is clear that Brandon intended to damage Fred's laptop when he caused it to fall to the floor.

Related Offenses
  1. Making Graffiti: New York Penal Law § 145.60
  2. Possession of Graffiti Instruments: New York Penal Law § 145.65
  3. Burglary in the First Degree: New York Penal Law § 140.30
  4. Burglary in the Second Degree: New York Penal Law § 140.25
  5. Burglary in the Third Degree: New York Penal Law § 140.20

The charge of criminal mischief in the requires that your intentional or reckless actions resulted in the damage to another person's property. This means that if you can show that your actions were neither intentional nor reckless, but accidental, then your actions would not meet the requirements of a criminal mischief in the fourth degree charge.


As a class A misdemeanor, if you are convicted of criminal mischief in the fourth degree, your sentence may include a jail term of up to a year, a probation term of up to 3 years, a fine, and restitution.

New York Penal Law § 145.00: Criminal Mischief in the Fourth Degree

A person is guilty of criminal mischief in the fourth degree when, having no right to do so nor any reasonable ground to believe that he or she has such right, he or she:

  1. Intentionally damages property of another person; or

  2. Intentionally participates in the destruction of an abandoned building as defined in section one thousand nine hundred seventy-one-a of the real property actions and proceedings law; or

  3. Recklessly damages property of another person in an amount exceeding two hundred fifty dollars; or

  4. With intent to prevent a person from communicating a request for emergency assistance, intentionally disables or removes telephonic, TTY or similar communication sending equipment while that person: (a) is attempting to seek or is engaged in the process of seeking emergency assistance from police, law enforcement, fire or emergency medical services personnel; or (b) is attempting to seek or is engaged in the process of seeking emergency assistance from another person or entity in order to protect himself, herself or a third person from imminent physical injury. The fact that the defendant has an ownership interest in such equipment shall not be a defense to a charge pursuant to this subdivision.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

Even though criminal mischief in the fourth degree is a misdemeanor and not a felony, it is still important to have experienced representation. The staff at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates has years of experience successfully defending clients in New York criminal courts who have been charged with criminal mischief as well as other felonies and misdemeanors such as grand larceny, burglary, and assault. Contact us at 800.696.9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve those accused of larceny in the following locations: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Nassau County, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County and Westchester County.

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