Malicious Destruction of Property in Massachusetts

Some of the most common types of crimes committed in Massachusetts fall into the category of property destruction crimes. While these criminal acts can range in severity from misdemeanor to felony, one of the more serious destruction of property crimes is malicious destruction of property. 

If you are facing charges for malicious destruction of property, you could be looking at time behind bars, large fines, and a permanent mark on your criminal record. At The Law Office of Paul R. Moraski, our experienced defense attorney can help. Call today to learn more about how to defend yourself. 

What Does ‘Willful and Malicious’ Mean in Massachusetts?

In a destruction of property crime, the prosecution has the burden of proving that the defendant destroyed or injured the property of another. In a malicious destruction of property case, the prosecution will need to prove that the defendant did so both willfully and maliciously. In this context, willful means that the defendant acted with intent; malicious means that the defendant acted “out of cruelty, hostility, or revenge.”

Is Willful and Malicious Destruction of Property a Misdemeanor or Felony?

The crime of malicious destruction of property is a felony if the property involved is valued at over $250. The crime will only be charged as a misdemeanor if the property involved is valued at less than $250. The burden is also on the prosecution to prove the value of the property that was destroyed. 

Penalties for Malicious Destruction of Property in Massachusetts?

The penalties for malicious destruction of property in Massachusetts will depend on whether the property involved was worth more than $250, thereby making the crime a felony. For a felony conviction, a defendant may face up to:

  • 2.5 years in jail;
  • 10 years in the state prison; and 
  • Fine of three times the value of the damaged property or $3,000, whichever is greater.

If the crime is charged as a misdemeanor, a conviction may result in a fine of three times the value of the damaged property and up to 2.5 months of incarceration. While these penalties are less severe than felony charges, they still warrant legal counsel. A conviction could impair your ability to secure employment, participate in certain programs, gain security clearance necessary for certain jobs, and more. A conviction is more than just an inconvenience. 

Call a Criminal Defense Attorney Near You Today

If you are facing criminal charges, working with an experienced attorney is strongly recommended. At The Law Office of Paul R. Moraski, we know what you’re going through. For help with your malicious destruction of property case, call our law firm directly today or send us a message online. You can reach us by phone at (978) 397-0011.