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

One of the questions people facing a criminal charge ask is: How long does a criminal case take? The timeline of your criminal case in Minnesota will depend on the nature and severity of the alleged crime, the speed of the criminal justice system, the duration of the trial, and whether an appeal will be necessary. Delays at any stage of the criminal justice process may impact how long your criminal case will last. Generally, however, misdemeanor cases may resolve within weeks or months, while felony cases may linger in courts for up to a year.
People accused, arrested, or charged with a crime often ask, “How much does a criminal defense lawyer cost in Minneapolis, MN?” It is difficult to accurately determine how much a criminal defense lawyer will cost. The reason is that numerous factors impact the cost of legal representation in criminal matters. These factors include the type and severity of criminal charges, the lawyer’s experience and reputation, required time and effort, and geographical location.
Social media can have legal implications, particularly when it comes to criminal cases. Since its advent, social media has become a powerful tool for communication and self-expression. As of 2023, an estimated 4.9 billion people worldwide use social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram to share thoughts, experiences, and moments from their lives. However, in this digital age, social media activity can be used as evidence in criminal cases in Minneapolis and elsewhere.