Vandalism Charges in Minnesota Carry Stiff Fines and Penalties

Vandalism is often seen as a juvenile crime, but in Minnesota it carries stiff fines and penalties. A St. Paul criminal defense attorney often sees young people who face stiff fines and up to five years in prison when convicted of vandalism charges.

Vandalism can be something as minor as carving your initials into a tree, or as major as causing thousands of dollars in property damage. Because each incidence of vandalism is different, Minnesota prosecutes vandalism crimes in three different degrees.

First Degree Criminal Damage to Property

First-degree criminal damage to property is the most severe type of vandalism in Minnesota. When a person willfully and intentionally causes damage to another person’s property, they can be charged with first-degree vandalism. Charges can result if any or all of the following conditions are present:

  • The damage involves a reasonable risk of bodily harm
  • The property belongs to a common carrier, like a utility company, and the damage causes disruption in access to the public’s services
  • The damage reduces the property’s value by more than $1,000
  • The damage reduces the property’s value by more than $500 and the offender has a prior conviction for criminal damage to property

First degree criminal damage to property is a felony-level offense which requires legal representation by a St. Paul criminal defense attorney. It carries potential sentences of up to $10,000 in fines and up to five years in prison, as well as possible monetary penalties to pay back the property owner for property damages.

Second Degree Criminal Damage to Property

A second degree criminal damage to property charge may constitute a hate crime when it involves intentionally causing damage to another person’s property because of their race, nationality, ethnicity, religion, sex, sexual orientation, and mental or physical disability or impairment. Although second degree criminal damage to property is a lesser vandalism offense, it still carries fines up to $3,000 and up to one year in prison.

Third Degree Criminal Damage to Property

Third degree criminal damage to property is the most common type of vandalism seen by a St. Paul criminal defense attorney in Minnesota. For third degree offenses, a person can receive fines up to $3,000 and up to one year in prison, or both, if the property value is reduced by more than $500, but not more than $1,000, as measured by the cost of repair and replacement.

Max Keller has won countless jury trial cases involving misdemeanors and felonies, sex crimes, and DWI’s. He is a member of the Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice, which only allows the top 50 criminal defense attorneys in the state as members. Max is a frequent speaker at CLE’s and is often asked for advice by other defense attorneys across Minnesota.

Years of Experience: Approx. 20 years
Minnesota Registration Status: Active
Bar & Court Admissions: State of Minnesota Minnesota State Court Minnesota Federal Court 8th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals State of Maryland

What to Do If You Have Been Charged with a Criminal Offense

Knowing how to choose a criminal defense lawyer in Minneapolis, MN, can help you hire a lawyer who will prepare an effective defense strategy and fight for the best result from your case. One of the crucial tips when selecting a criminal defense lawyer is to vet those with relevant experience in cases like yours. You can only do this when you thoroughly understand the charges you are facing.
People anticipating an arrest in Minneapolis, Minnesota, might ask, “What is the role of a defense attorney during an arrest?” A skilled criminal defense attorney can explain your options, ensure the police follow the rules, and protect your rights. The attorney will build a solid defense, talk to the prosecutor, and fight for your best interests.
Knowing when to hire a criminal lawyer for your case in Minnesota can help protect your constitutional rights and turn the odds in your favor. You should retain a criminal lawyer immediately after learning you are under investigation, get arrested, or are charged with a crime. Seasoned criminal lawyers understand the criminal justice system, can build a winning defense strategy, and aggressively push for a positive outcome of your case.