Criminal Mischief in Colorado

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Statute for 18 – 4 – 501 – Criminal Mischief

StatuteHere is the charge you are facing:

18-4-501. Criminal mischief

(1) A person who knowingly damages the real or personal property of one or more other persons, including property owned by the person jointly with another person or property owned by the person in which another person has a possessory or proprietary interest, in the course of a single criminal episode commits a class 2 misdemeanor where the aggregate damage to the real or personal property is less than five hundred dollars. Where the aggregate damage to the real or personal property is five hundred dollars or more but less than one thousand dollars, the person commits a class 1 misdemeanor. Where the aggregate damage to the real or personal property is one thousand dollars or more but less than twenty thousand dollars, the person commits a class 4 felony. Where the aggregate damage to the real or personal property is twenty thousand dollars or more, the person commits a class 3 felony.

Case Law

When you look at the Statute, you may have questions about definitions of certain words or how the Colorado Court will interpret certain phrases.  To answer these questions, Criminal Defense Attorney turn to "case law."  That is, lawyers look at previous cases to determine how these words and phrases should be defined and interpreted. The best way to locate caselaw for free is to go to google scholar and search for legal opinions involving your charges from Colorado courts. Remember to talk to your attorney about any issues in your case and how the lawyer believes that the issues should be handled.


Colorado Penalties for Criminal Mischief

Penalties

The charge of Criminal Mischief, is categorized as a:

F3, if value is $20,000 or more
F4, if value is $1,000 to $20,000
M1, if value is $500 to $1,000
M2, if value less than $500
F3, if value is $15,000 or more
F4, if value is $500 to $15,000
M2, if value is $100 to $500
M3, if value less than $100

Click here to find out how much jail time is associated with this penalty.

How to Use This Information

After you have hired a Denver Colorado Criminal Defense Attorney, you will need to sit down with him to talk about the strengths and weaknesses of your case.  To begin this process, you should think about what the prosecutor will attempt to show in order to say that you are guilty. This involves analyzing the statute language above as well as the jury instructions (which is the set of instructions that the jury will use to understand the law). This will allow you to get a better idea of how you can attack the prosecutor’s case and build your own case. So to begin, you should understand that the prosecutor will need to prove certain things beyond a reasonable doubt for you to be found guilty.  These things are called “elements”.

The jury will be notified of the elements through a set of instructions called “Jury Instructions.” The Jury Instructions will be crafted by your attorney and the prosecutor. Your Denver Colorado Criminal Defense Attorney will mold the jury instructions to your case, adding facts that are specific to the case and omitting unnecessary parts of the instructions.

Please find the model jury instruction for Criminal Mischief below. These will be adapted by your Denver Colorado Attorney for your case.

The elements of the crime of Criminal Mischief are: 1. That the defendant, 2. in the State of Colorado, at or about the date and place charged. 3. knowingly, 4. damaged the real or personal property of one or more other persons including property owned by the defendant in which another person has a possessory or proprietary interest in the course of a single criminal episode, and 5. the aggregate damages to real or personal property were [less than five [one] hundred dollars] [five [one] hundred dollars or more but less than [five hundred] one thousand dollars] [[five hundred] one thousand dollars or more but less than [fifteen] twenty thousand dollars] [[fifteen] twenty thousand dollars or more]. 6. [without the affirmative defense in instruction number _______ .] After considering all of the evidence, if you decide the prosecution has proved each of the elements beyond a reasonable doubt, you should find the defendant guilty of Criminal Mischief. After considering all of the evidence, if you decide the prosecution has failed to prove any one or more of the elements beyond a reasonable doubt, you should find the defendant not guilty of Criminal Mischief. NOTES ON USE The values changed for offenses committed on or after July 1, 2007. The bracket value amounts reflect the status of the law before July 1,2007. When this instruction is used the definitions of ?knowingly? and ?property of another? must be given. When there is disputed evidence as to value, a Special Verdict form or lesser included offense instruction must be given.

To begin the process of analyzing your case, think about your case from the perspective of the prosecutor.  Think about the facts that the prosecutor will have to prove to establish each element. Next, sit down with your Denver CO Criminal Defense Attorney and talk about some of the legal ways that you can use to counter the prosecutor’s evidence.  Talk to your attorney about whether he thinks any of the prosecutor’s evidence can be kept out of court.  For example, if you were illegally searched, your attorney may be able to keep the things that were found, as a result of that illegal search, out of court.  Additionally, talk to your attorney about whether you have any defenses to Criminal Mischief.

Important Notes:

Don’t Forget about Immigration:

If you are not a U.S. citizen, be sure to ask your attorney whether your charges will trigger deportation if you are found guilty or plea to the charge.

Good Luck!

The information in this post is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or as the creation of an attorney-client relationship. For legal advice, please contact an Attorney.

Written by

Nathaniel has worked in criminal law on both sides of the aisle spending time working for the prosecution as well as the defense. Most recently Nathaniel has represented individuals in violent felonies and drug cases. Prior to this work, Nathaniel handled DWIs, Domestic Violence Cases, Property Crimes, and White Collar Crimes. On the prosecutorial side, Nathaniel has most notably worked in Bosnia helping to prosecute individuals who committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Bosnian War from 1993-1995. In particular, Nathaniel helped in the prosecution of military leaders who arranged for the organized murders and rapes of innocent civilians in various towns in Bosnia. Nathaniel is a graduate of the University of Texas School of Law, Northwestern University, and Phillips Exeter Academy. Google Profile: Nathaniel Baca