Wanton Destruction of Property

Causing the destruction of another property in Massachusetts could result in both civil and criminal charges. One type of property destruction crime identified under Massachusetts General Laws is wanton destruction of property. At The Law Office of Paul R. Moraski, we can help you to understand the charges you’re facing and how to best protect and advocate for yourself throughout the criminal process. Reach out to us today to learn more about wanton destruction of property and get help with your case. 

What Is Wanton Destruction?

Wanton destruction of property is not to be confused with the crime of malicious destruction of property. Wanton destruction of property refers to an act of property destruction that occurs because of wanton—or reckless—behavior, whereas malicious destruction of property refers to property destruction that is done with intent and malice. While both are serious, wanton destruction of property is less harshly punished in Massachusetts.

An example of wanton destruction of property, as found in notes provided by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on the topic, is a youth throwing rocks from a bridge, ultimately striking a car below. While the youth may have not had the intent to damage any specific car, the behavior itself is reckless. In order to secure a conviction, the prosecution only needs to prove that the defendant’s conduct was “indifferent to, or in disregard of, the probable consequences.” 

Penalties for Wanton Destruction of Property 

The penalty for wanton destruction of property is a fine of $1,000 or three times the value of the damaged property, whichever is greater, or imprisonment of up to 2.5 years. For reference, willful destruction of property can be punished by up to 10 years imprisonment! 

In addition to potential incarceration and a large fine, wanton destruction of property will show up as an offense on a person’s criminal record, which could have larger implications down the line. 

Common Defenses and Defense Strategies

It is important to consult with your attorney about the defense strategy that makes sense for you. For example, you may be able to prove that the property destruction was completely accidental and neither wanton nor malicious, or that it was otherwise out of your control. At the advice of your attorney, you may consider negotiating a plea bargain rather than defending yourself against charges.

Get Legal Help Today

At The Law Office of Paul R. Moraski, we know what you’re going through. For the legal representation you need when facing charges for wanton destruction of property, call us directly at (978) 397-0011 or send us a message online. We are here for you.