Malicious Destruction of Property in Massachusetts

While accidents happen, intentionally and maliciously destroying the property of another is against the law. If you are convicted of malicious destruction of property, you could face serious penalties. Upon being charged, you should immediately consult an experienced Massachusetts criminal defense attorney. 

What Is Malicious Destruction of Property?

Malicious destruction of property is the willful and intentional destruction of another’s property. In order to secure a conviction of guilty, the prosecution has the duty of proving the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The elements that the prosecution must establish in order to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt include:

  • The property of another was destroyed and the destruction happened at the hands of the defendant; 
  • The act of destruction was willful–which means that both the act and the consequences were understood and intentional; and
  • The act of destruction was malicious. This can be a particularly tough element to prove, as the prosecution must produce evidence that the defendant committed the act of property destruction out of cruelty, hostility, or revenge. 

Potential Penalties

The penalties for malicious destruction of property vary depending on whether the crime is classified as a misdemeanor or a felony. This distinction is based on the value of property that’s destroyed. Malicious destruction of property valued over $250 is considered a felony in our state.

For malicious destruction of property over $250, penalties may include prison time and a fine of $3,000 or three times the value of the damaged property, whichever is greater. A misdemeanor offense is not punishable by more than 2.5 months imprisonment and a fine. 

How a Massachusetts Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help

If you are charged with malicious destruction of property, it will be important to have an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side who can help to build your defense. Your attorney will be responsible for poking holes in the prosecution’s case and presenting your defense. Your attorney may be able to prove, for example, that you did not have intent to destroy the property, or that the destruction was not malicious as you had no reason to act against the alleged victim. The attorney could also negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecution to help reduce either the charges or the recommended sentence. 

Call The Law Offices of Paul R. Moraski 

As soon as you are charged with a crime, it’s important to start outlining your legal defense. The first step in your defense should be to secure legal counsel. At The Law Office of Paul R. Moarski, our experienced Massachusetts criminal defense attorney is here to help you build your case and secure the best possible case outcome. Call our law firm directly today or send us a message online to get started. You can reach us at (978) 397-0011.