We often think of malicious injury to property in Sapulpa, Oklahoma as just a teenaged prank: dome graffiti on a wall, letting the air out of tires, or egging a car or a house. These are all examples of interfering with a property owner’s rights in such a way that it costs them money, time, and aggravation.
Here is what you need to know about the crime of malicious injury to property in Sapulpa.
Defining Malicious Injury to Property in Sapulpa
Malicious injury to property in Oklahoma is defined as deliberately injuring, defacing, or destroying another’s real or personal property. The crime can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony in Oklahoma depending on the amount of damage done.
It can be charged as a misdemeanor if the damage done is less than $1,000 in value. It is a felony conviction when the damage done is valued at $1,000 or more or when the defendant has two or more prior conviction of malicious injury to property — regardless of the amount of damage done. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1760
The law allows smaller acts of malicious injury to property to be aggregated in order to allow the prosecutor to charge the crime as a felony instead of a misdemeanor.
In order to be charged, the action must be deliberate rather than accidental. The crime is grounded in the “malicious” element. A person acts without justification or excuse in doing the damage or harming the rights of another person.
The term “malicious” does not mean that the perpetrator harbors any ill will toward the owner of the property. In fact, a person can act maliciously without knowing who the owner of the property is at all.
Penalties for Malicious Injury to Property
The penalty for this crime is not specifically stated in the statute. Thus, it falls under the general penalty statutes.
If charged as a misdemeanor, the crime is punishable by up a year in jail, a fine of up to $500, or both. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 10
If you are convicted of a felony under this statute, you could face up to two years in prison, a fine of up to $1,000, or both. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 9
In addition, the law allows the victim to bring a civil suit against the perpetrator and allows the property owner to collect three times the value of the actual damage done.
There are other statutes that cover specific types of malicious injury to property. When there is a specific statute covering a specific situation, a perpetrator will be charged under the more specific statute. Here are some examples:
- Damaging another person’s vehicle, rigging the vehicle to use it for joyriding, or disturbing any of the vehicle’s parts is a misdemeanor. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 §§ 1787, 1788
- Intentionally defacing or causing damage to a church or other house of worship is a felony. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1765
- Intentionally defacing or taking a landmark is a misdemeanor. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1774
- Intentionally causing damage to any public roadways or bridges is a felony. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1753
Free Consultation: Sapulpa Criminal Defense Attorney
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