The purposeful destruction of property owned by someone else is considered a criminal offense. While commonly referred to as vandalism, this category of crime is classified in the Michigan criminal code as Malicious Destruction of Property (MDOP).
MDOP charges usually stem from domestic disputes, road rage incidents, confrontations with neighbors and events involving juvenile delinquents. There are a variety of different acts that constitute a malicious property damage crime. Among these include tampering with property, defacement, littering and even the threat of inflicting damage. The most common targets include parked vehicles, homes, personal effects and yard fixtures. The callousness of the act itself usually suggests intent and willful malice.
If you have been arrested or charged with Malicious Destruction of Property (MDOP), we recommend that you retain experienced counsel to aid in the defense of this charge. We know the law and can help you understand your rights and develop defenses to charges levied against you.
Property Damage Consequences
Property damage crimes are a serious and a growing societal problem. They present a multitude of negative consequences such as higher insurance rates and lost business productivity. Those who engage in the intentional destruction of personal property also inflict a great deal of anguish and suffering upon their victims. As such MDOP crimes carry a variety of tough statuary penalties. These include prison sentences, fines, restitution or a combination of all three.
- Misdemeanor offense of less than $200: A conviction can result in a prison term up to 93 days and/or a fine up to $200.
- Misdemeanor offense between $200 and $1000: A conviction can result in a prison term up to one year and/or a fine up to $1000.
- Felony offense between $1000 and $20,000: A conviction can result in a prison term up to five years and/or a fine up to $10,000.
- Felony Offense more than $20,000: A conviction can result in a prison term up to ten years and/or a fine up to $15,000.
Anyone accused of committing a property destruction crime will require the immediate counsel of a qualified MDOP lawyer. Additionally, since property destruction is an act often committed by juveniles, it is important to aggressively protect and defend their rights. Frequently, juvenile MDOP crimes are motivated by peer pressure or parental defiance. Lawyers that understand the nature of these crimes can often minimize the legal consequences and help their clients move on with their lives.
Remember, judges have a tremendous amount of discretion when imposing your punishment. Without us, or another competent attorney, you may say or do the wrong thing, increasing your punishment. For this reason, looking for an attorney who practices in the county where you were violated is particularly helpful. That said, we regularly practice in the counties of Oakland, Macomb, Wayne, and Lapeer, Livingston, Washtenaw, Genesee, and St. Clair.
Source: Matthew R Van Steenkiste