Malicious Destruction of Property

Malicious Destruction of Property can involve personal property such as a car, a building (or a permanent attachment to a building), tomb, memorial, a school bus, fire or police department property, mine property, trees, plants, turf, bridges, railroads, locks, dams, canals, mills, or vessels.  The 2 main categories are Malicious Destruction of Property (MDOP) and Malicious Destruction of a Building (MDOB).

Malicious Destruction of Personal Property (MDOP) – in order to convict, the Prosecution must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
1) The property belonged to someone else.
2) The Defendant destroyed or damaged the property.
3) The Defendant did this knowing that it was wrong, without just cause or excuse, and with the intent to damage or destroy the property.
4) The extent of the damage was either: $20,000 or more; $1,000 or more, but less than $20,000; $200 or more, but less than $1,000; or less than $200.
Malicious Destruction of a Building (MDOB) – in order to convict, the Prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt:
1) The building, or anything permanently attached to it, belonged to someone else.
2) The Defendant destroyed or damaged the building, or anything permanently attached to it.
3) The Defendant did this knowing that it was wrong, without just cause or excuse, and with the intent to damage or destroy the property.
4) The extent of the damage was either: $20,000 or more; $1,000 or more but less than $20,000; $200 or more but less than $1,000; or less than $200.
The test for the extent of damage is the reasonable and fair market value of repairing the damage or replacing the property destroyed.  Fair market value is determined at the time and place where the damage occurred.  The Prosecution can use damages caused in separate incidents that are part of a scheme or course of conduct within a 12 month period to prove its case.  If the case involves a scheme or a course of conduct, the fair market values of the different incidents are added together to determine the appropriate charge.  These type of charges require a criminal defense lawyer that provides effective advocacy and legal representation.
The penalties for most MDOP or MDOB offenses are as follows:
1) Damage(s) or destruction that totals over $20,000 or with 2 prior similar convictions is a felony that usually carries a 10 year maximum sentence, with a fine of not more than $10,000 or 3 times the amount of the destruction, whichever is greater.
2) Damage(s) or destruction that totals from $1,000 to $20,000 or with 1 prior similar conviction is a felony that usually carries a 5 year maximum sentence, with a fine of not more than $2,000 or 3 times the amount of the destruction, whichever is greater.
3) Damage(s) or destruction that totals between $200 and $1,000 is usually a 1 year misdemeanor, with a fine of not more than $2,000 or 3 times the amount of the destruction, whichever is greater.
4) Damage(s) or destruction that totals under $200 is usually a 93 day misdemeanor, with a fine of not more than $500 or 3 times the amount of the destruction, whichever is greater.  This can be charged under State laws and under local ordinances.
Malicious Destruction of Police or Fire Department Property is a 4 year maximum sentence felony charge.  Michigan law provides that any person who shall willfully and maliciously destroy or injure the personal property of any fire or police department, including the Michigan State police, shall be guilty of a felony.  There is no element as to the reasonable and fair market value of the police or fire department property that must be proven by the Prosecution.
Intentional Damage, Destruction, or Alteration of a School Bus is a felony offense that carries a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison, a fine of up to $5,000, or both.  The Prosecution has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt the following 3 elements:
1) The offense was done without the permission of the entity that owns the school bus.
2) Damage, destruction, or alteration was caused to the school bus by the Defendant.
3) The damage, destruction, or alteration creates a health or safety hazard for an occupant or potential occupant of the school bus.
For this offense there is also no element as to the reasonable and fair market value of the damage, destruction, or alteration to the school bus that must be proven by the Prosecution.
For these types of cases, excellent legal representation is a necessity.  It is recommended that you contact Attorney Daniel Hilf.