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NY Penal Law § 145.05: Criminal Mischief in the Third Degree

Criminal mischief is another term for vandalism. Along with arson, trespass, reckless endangerment of property and burglary, criminal mischief is one of several crimes in New York Penal Law that is a crime that targets the property of another person. Criminal mischief is defined as damaging another person's property without that person's permission. 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 a vehicle by breaking into with the intent to steal property and within the prior 5 years have been convicted of criminal mischief in the first, second, third, or fourth degrees 3 or more times; or
  2. You intentionally damage someone else’s property in an amount that exceeds $250.

Sherri and Joey dated for 10 years. The relationship was marred by violent arguments and frequent breakups. Finally Joey had enough. He broke up with Sherri and refused to reconcile. Furious, Sherrie slashed all 4 of the tires on Joey's car. Sherri could face charges of criminal mischief in the third degree as long as the prosecutor can show that the damage to the 4 tires exceeded $250.

Related Offenses
  1. Burglary in the Third Degree: New York Penal Law § 140.20
  2. Making Graffiti: New York Penal Law § 145.60
  3. Reckless Endangerment to Property: New York Penal Law § 145.25
  4. Possession of Graffiti Instruments: New York Penal Law § 145.65

If you face the charge of criminal mischief in the third degree based on being accused of damage exceeding $250, then the burden is on the prosecutor to prove that the damage did indeed exceed $250. If you can show that that damage was less than $250, the prosecutor will be forced to dismiss or reduce the charge.


As a Class E felony, if you are convicted of criminal mischief in the third degree, your sentence may include a prison term of up to 4 years, a probation term of up to 5 years, a fine, and restitution.

New York Penal Law § 145.05: Criminal Mischief in the Third Degree

A person is guilty of criminal mischief in the third degree when, with intent to damage property of another person, and having no right to do so nor any reasonable ground to believe that he or she has such right, he or she:

  1. damages the motor vehicle of another person, by breaking into such vehicle when it is locked with the intent of stealing property, and within the previous ten year period, has been convicted three or more times, in separate criminal transactions for which sentence was imposed on separate occasions, of criminal mischief in the fourth degree as defined in § 145.00, criminal mischief in the third degree as defined in this section, criminal mischief in the second degree as defined in § 145.10, or criminal mischief in the first degree as defined in § 145.12 of this article; or

  2. damages property of another person in an amount exceeding two hundred fifty dollars.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

If you are convicted of criminal mischief in the third degree, you face the possibility of spending 4 years in prison. However, just because you were charged with this crime does not mean that you will be convicted. There may be defenses that may result in the charges against you being dropped or reduced. Thus, it is important that you immediately seek experienced legal guidance. 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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