A vandalism charge in Calgary falls under the umbrella of “criminal mischief.” A criminal mischief charge refers to interference with another person’s property. The potential penalties upon conviction depend upon the amount of damage caused to the property (that is, more than $5,000 or less than $5,000).
If you face charges for criminal mischief stemming from vandalism, the experienced criminal defence lawyers at Bourdon Defence may be able to help. Our legal team can review what happened and help you explore potential defences to your criminal charge.
Types of Vandalism and Criminal Mischief
Under the Criminal Code of Canada, a person may be charged with criminal mischief based on vandalism if he or she destroys property that belongs to another or otherwise alters the property in some way. In order for it to be a criminal offence, the property alterations must be deliberate. If the act was accidental, it will not amount to vandalism or criminal mischief. Activities that could ultimately result in criminal mischief charges include:
- Spray painting a bridge or the exterior of a building
- Slashing a person’s tires
- Smashing in a person’s house or car windows
A person who purposefully damages or vandalizes a synagogue, church, or mosque can receive more serious penalties than with other types of vandalism. Moreover, if you are a part-owner of the vandalized property, you can still incur criminal mischief charges in Calgary.
After a charge of criminal mischief, you will likely have to attend a bail hearing. At the hearing, the hearing officer can place certain conditions on you while you await trial. For example, you will likely be told to have no contact with the person or persons who own the vandalized property. Moreover, the court will prohibit you from going onto the property that you allegedly vandalized or damaged. If the alleged vandalism occurred in a domestic setting, the court may prohibit you from going to your own home while your criminal case is pending.
At trial, your lawyer may be able to raise a legal defence or defences on your behalf in order to obtain a dismissal of your vandalism or criminal mischief charge. For example, your lawyer may be able to argue that you were somewhere else at the time the alleged vandalism occurred. Moreover, your lawyer may able to show that the damage was an accident and that you did not cause the property damage on purpose.
If the alleged vandalism involved property with a value below $5,000, the court can sentence you to up to two years in jail, along with fines and probation. If the property value exceeds $5,000, you could receive a sentence of to up to ten years in jail.
Talk to a Calgary Criminal Defence Lawyer About Your Case Today
Given the potential penalties upon conviction, you should never take a Calgary criminal mischief or vandalism charge lightly. To schedule a free consultation and case evaluation with a Calgary criminal defence lawyer, please call us today at (403) 474-4143, or contact us online.