Member of:
Justia Lawyer Rating
American Association for Justice
Union Plus

NY Penal Law § 145.12: Criminal Mischief in the First Degree

Criminal mischief is a crime that involves intentionally damaging the property of another person with that person's permission. Some refer to criminal mischief as vandalism. There are four criminal mischief offenses in the New York criminal code that range from a class A misdemeanor to a class B felony. Criminal mischief in the first degree is the most serious criminal mischief crime. Under New York Penal Law § 145.12 you could face prosecution for criminal mischief in the first degree if you intentionally damage the property of another person using an explosive. The term "property of another" is defined in New York Penal Law § 145.13 as not only property that is owned by a person or persons other that you, but also property in which you have an ownership interest along with one or more other people.


In the case of People v. Knobel, 723 N.E.2d 550 (1999), defendant Daniel Knobel was charged with criminal mischief in the first degree as well as arson. Knobel was accused of detonating an explosive at a car dealership.

Related Offenses
  1. Tampering in the Second degree: New York Penal Law § 145.15
  2. Tampering in the First Degree: New York Penal Law § 140.20
  3. Arson in the First degree: New York Penal Law § 150.20

A possible defense to a charge of criminal mischief in the first degree is that the damage you caused was not intentional but accidental. In addition, you cannot be charged with this crime if you had the permission of the owner of the property to engage in the activity that ultimately caused the damage.


Criminal mischief in the first degree is a class B felony. This means that if you are convicted your sentence could include up to 25 years in prison, a significant fine, and restitution.

New York Penal Law § 145.12: Criminal Mischief in the First Degree

A person is guilty of criminal mischief in the first 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 has such right, he damages property of another person by means of an explosive.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

If you are convicted of criminal mischief in the first degree there is a good chance you will have to spend several 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. Because your freedom is at stake, if you are charged with criminal mischief 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.

Client Reviews
My wife and I met under some unconventional circumstances. After I had some legal problems, Mr Bilkis and his firm continually got me out of trouble. I then had his firm represented my wife and he got her out of trouble! We are still married and got our ways straightened away. We both can't thank him enough for saving our lives and our families! J.P.
I contacted Stephen Bilkis' office for an issue regarding a family member and I could not be happier with the results. I have recommended the firm to friends and family, all of whom were also ecstatic with Mr. Bilkis and all members of his staff. P.R.
I was in need of legal assistance for a very sensitive matter for a family member. I contacted the law offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates, PLLC and was met with staff whose demeanor was supportive, compassionate and professional. The lawyer handling our case had many years of experience and treated us as if we were his own family. Our experience was so good, and we became so close to all of the staff and all of the attorneys who assisted us, that we consider them our extended family and continue to send them our home baked gifts for the holidays. P.A.K.
I hired Stephen Bilkis and Associates to represent me on a legal matter a few months ago and am grateful for their swift action and resolution on my behalf. I was impressed with their professionalism and would recommend them to friends and family in a heartbeat. M.B.