VANDALISM DEFENSE EXPERTS
A VANDALISM CONVICTION CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE.
Vandalism has a reputation for being a relatively minor crime, something that young people commit as a prank while riding around all night. However, vandalism is a serious crime, and people accused of vandalism need an aggressive criminal defense attorney to help them fight the charges. At Groth & Associates, we have considerable experience defending people accused of vandalism, and we encourage you to reach out to an attorney as soon as possible.
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Vandalism is defined in Ohio Revised Code 2909.05 as the following:
- Knowingly causing serious damage to an occupied building or its contents.
- Knowingly causing damage to property that is necessary to the owner’s job or otherwise worth at least $1,000.
- Knowingly causing serious damage to a tomb, monument, gravestone, or cemetery.
- Knowingly damaging a tomb, crypt, or casket when entering it without permission.
- Knowingly causing serious damage to property owned by the government.
Vandalism can be a felony of the third, fourth, or fifth degree depending on the amount of property damage you have committed:
- Less than $7,500: felony in the fifth degree;
- At least $7,500 but less than $150,000: felony in the fourth degree;
- At least $150,000 or more: felony in the third degree.
Being convicted of a felony carries severe consequences that might surprise people. For example, you might have to spend time in jail as punishment:
- Fifth-degree felony: 6-12 months in prison;
- Fourth-degree felony: 6-18 months in prison;
- Third-degree felony: 9-36 months in prison.
Many factors go into whether you will need to serve prison time, as well as the amount of time. For example, a judge will want to look at your criminal history to see if you are a habitual offender or whether this is your first offense. You should not assume the judge will give you the maximum sentence. Sometimes, a lawyer can argue that probation would be more effective.
Defendants can also be fined if they are convicted. The fine schedule is laid out in ORC 2929.18, and you will have to pay quite a bit of money:
- Fifth-degree felony: a fine of up to $2,500;
- Fourth-degree felony: a fine of up to $5,000;
- Third-degree felony: a fine of up to $10,000.
You will probably also have to pay money to the defendant to make up for the damage caused, called “restitution.” This amount could be considerable depending on how much destruction you are responsible for.
OTHER PRACTICE AREA CASES
WHY YOU NEED A LAWYER
ALTERNATELY, YOU MIGHT BE ABLE TO GET THE CHARGES REDUCED.
If you do not relish the prospect of spending years in jail for damaging someone’s property, you need to start building a serious defense right away. At Groth & Associates, our Toledo vandalism attorneys understand how to properly defend against vandalism charges, and we will raise the best defenses possible.
For example, Ohio’s vandalism laws require that you “knowingly” damage property. It might be the case that you only damaged the property unintentionally, which would relieve you of criminal responsibility.
Alternately, you might be able to get the charges reduced. Ohio also has a criminal mischief law that could also apply to property damage. For example, criminal mischief includes knowingly damaging, defacing, tampering or destroying another person’s property. However, criminal mischief is only a misdemeanor which carries a maximum of 6 months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Collateral Consequences of a Criminal Conviction
Felons have a much harder time getting a job or renting an apartment and can also struggle to get loans. Felons in Ohio also lose important rights. For example, your right to vote is normally suspended while in prison. A felon will also permanently lose the ability to serve on a jury.
Furthermore, both federal and state laws limit the ability of felons to own, possess, or use firearms. The only way to get back your gun rights is to seek a pardon, which is costly and time-consuming.
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SPEAK TO AN EXPERIENCED VANDALISM LAWYER IN TOLEDO TODAY
If you or a loved one has been picked up for vandalism, you should contact Groth & Associates without delay. Our criminal defense attorneys will immediately get to work identifying what evidence the state has that you committed the crime, and we will pursue all avenues to receive a favorable resolution to this case.
Sometimes, avoiding trial is not possible, but we want you to know that we can vigorously represent you in front of a jury so that you get the fairest trial possible. To learn more about how we can help, please schedule a free initial consultation with one of our lawyers. Please call 419-491-3370 today.