Vandalism and Malicious Mischief

Juveniles and young adults often pull pranks without intention to cause harm or real damage. Unfortunately, property owners and police may perceive these pranks as acts of vandalism or mischief, which can lead to criminal charges.


Vandalism is generally considered as any intentional act that defaces or damages property. For instance, vandalism may include:

  • Graffiti
  • Keying a vehicle
  • Slashing tires
  • Egging a house or vehicle
  • Paintballing a house or vehicle

Malicious Mischief

Malicious mischief may include an act of vandalism or another act that defaces or damages public or private property. Some examples of malicious mischief include:

  • Destroying or damaging public or private landscaping
  • Dumping on public or private property
  • Damaging or defacing public infrastructure
  • Defacing or stealing road signs


Acts of vandalism and malicious mischief may either be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances. For instance, if the damage exceeds a certain dollar value (typically $1,000), malicious mischief or vandalism may be prosecuted as a felony. Similarly, if breaking and entering was also committed during the act, the potential penalties may increase.

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