Criminal mischief in New York is a crime that is charged when a suspect has allegedly vandalized personal property of another. It can be a misdemeanor under certain circumstances, but when the damage is over $1,500, it is charged as a felony. In a recent incident, a volunteer fireman was charged by New York State Police with felony charges of criminal mischief for allegedly vandalizing the Clarksville Fire Department where he volunteers.
It is alleged that the damages exceed $30,000. The 21-year-old man is being held in the Allegany County Jail in lieu of $25,000 bail. He is charged with entering the fire department building and spray painting fire trucks and fire-fighting gear. With respect to a potential criminal defense to the charges, defense counsel will probe the surrounding and historical facts with the suspect.
Obviously, he must have had some intensely personal reasons for doing what he did. He may have been disciplined or terminated from service, making his motivations appear to be in the nature of revenge. If the basic details of the charges are in fact true and supported by sufficient evidence, then the motive for committing the serious vandalism will remain a prime inquiry for defense counsel.
Motive in this case may be relevant to determining whether the suspect needs mental health care or drug rehabilitation services. If he has a clean prior record, criminal defense counsel may be able to negotiate a deal with the prosecution to have the man’s felony charges disposed of by way of an alternative disposition under New York law. That may allow for purging the conviction after serving a term of community service and probation. In all such cases, and under any court-imposed sentence, restitution for the damages would be an absolute necessity incorporated into the sentencing order.
Source: wgrz.com, “Volunteer Fireman Arrested for Vandalism at Fire Hall”, Heather Ly, Jan. 1, 2015