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Criminal Mischief

Criminal Mischief in New Jersey

In New Jersey, a charge for criminal mischief is codified by N.J.S.A. 2C:17-3. Criminal mischief is applicable when some damages the property of another. It is a common charge seen in New Jersey Domestic violence and Juvenile cases.

The Bianchi Law Group, LLC

The Bianchi Law Group is made up of former trial prosecutors and other “of counsel” attorneys who have handled the investigations and prosecutions of most crimes in New Jersey and will defend you for all federal and state crimes in New Jersey including Criminal Mischief.

Former Criminal Mischief Prosecutors

Founding Partner and Former Morris County Prosecutor Robert A. Bianchi has returned to private practice after running the operations of the entire Morris County Prosecutor’s Office having served as the Morris County Prosecutor for 5 and 1/2 years (2007-2013). Mr. Bianchi was appointed as the Morris County Prosecutor by the Governor of the State of New Jersey and unanimously confirmed by the New Jersey Senate in 2007. While serving as the Morris County Prosecutor, Mr. Bianchi ran the entire office’s operations, inclusive of all of its attorneys, detectives, and support staff with a budget of approximately 11 million dollars. His innovative programs and approach have led to numerous awards from State, Local, Municipal, business, and private entities. Robert Bianchi served on the Executive Board of the County Prosecutors’ Association and was one of the few prosecutors in many years to actually argue cases, motions, and sentences in court, and actually tried a murder case himself, which is extremely rare for a sitting county prosecutor.

Mr. Bianchi was previously a Hudson County Assistant Prosecutor (1989-1996) and thereafter a partner in the law firm Bianchi & Bianchi (1996-2007). Robert was one of the few attorneys in the State who qualified to handle death penalty cases when New Jersey had the death penalty.

Partner David J. Bruno has also returned to private practice after serving as Morris County Assistant Prosecutor (2007-2013). As an assistant prosecutor, Mr. Bruno prosecuted murder, major crimes, Distribution of CDS, white collar, internal affairs, domestic violence, and elderly abuse cases. Additionally, Mr. Bruno handled fraud and Major Crimes investigations and successfully tried a wide variety of trials including securing convictions for several high profile murder cases.

In December 2012, then Prosecutor Bianchi and Assistant Prosecutor Bruno worked together to secure a murder conviction against Jose Feliciano for the violent death of Father Edward Hinds in at St. Patrick’s Church in Chatham, New Jersey. Mr. Feliciano was sentenced to life without parole.

Together, Robert A. Bianchi, David J. Bruno and other “of counsel” attorneys make up an aggressive, ethical, and results-oriented New Jersey Criminal Defense firm who handle all criminal, municipal and DUI/DWI cases in New Jersey including Criminal Mischief cases.

Certified Criminal Trial Attorneys by the New Jersey Supreme Court

Partners Robert A. Bianchi and David J. Bruno are also both certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a criminal trial Attorneys.

In New Jersey, the New Jersey Supreme Court has a certification committee which classifies certain New Jersey Lawyers as Certified Trial Attorneys. The process requires the prospective attorneys to satisfy a strict criteria including extensive jury trials, a primary focus in criminal law, an application submission, a peer review process, a character and background check and to pass a written examination. Only 250 of over 93,000 lawyers (less than 1%) are designated as certified criminal trial attorneys by the New Jersey Supreme Court. This should be an important factor in finding a New Jersey criminal defense attorney to represent you. Many New Jersey Lawyers describe themselves as trial attorneys but most do not have the New Jersey Court’s distinction as Certified Criminal Trial Attorney.

Criminal Mischief Penalties in New Jersey

The Penalties for Criminal Mischief depend on either the amount of damage to the victims property or may be based on the type of property that was destroyed.

The New Jersey Criminal Mischief statute first grades the degree of crime based on the value. For example, Criminal Mischief is a third degree crime if the damage is $2,000.00 or more; a fourth degree crime if the damage is between $500.00 and $2,000.00; and a disorderly persons offense if the damage is $500.00 or less.

Additionally, the degree of the crime may depend on the type of property that the damaged. For Example, the following property types will dictate the degree of crime:

  • any research property used by the research facility, or otherwise causes physical disruption to the functioning of the research facility (third degree);
  • a sign, signal, light or other equipment, which serves to regulate or ensure the safety of air traffic at any airport, landing field, landing strip, heliport, helistop or any other aviation facility (fourth degree if no injury results; third degree if bodily injury results; second degree if death results);
  • airport, landing field, landing strip, heliport, helistop or any other aviation facility (fourth degree if no injury results; third degree if bodily injury results; second degree if death results)
  • a grave, crypt, mausoleum or other site where human remains are stored or interred (third degree);
  • public communication, transportation, supply of water, oil, gas or power, or other public service (third degree);
  • pipes or mains for conducting gas, oil or water, or any works erected for supplying buildings with gas, oil or water, or any appurtenances or appendages therewith connected, or injures, cuts, breaks down, destroys or otherwise tampers with any electric light wires, poles or appurtenances, or any telephone, telecommunications, cable television or telegraph wires, lines, cable or appurtenances (fourth degree);

Crimes in the second degree range can be punishable from 5 years to 10 years in New Jersey State prison. Crimes in the third degree range can be punishable from 3 years to 5 years in the New Jersey State prison. Crimes in the 4th degree range can be punishable up to 18 months in New Jersey State prison. Disorderly persons offenses can be punishable up to 6 months in the County jail usually in the County where the crime was committed.

The Sentencing Judge may also order fines and restitution as prescribed by 2C:43-3 for all convictions for Criminal Mischief in New Jersey.

Restitution and Community Service for New Jersey Graffiti Cases

By statute, the Judge can order a defendant convicted of Criminal Mischief in New Jersey to pay the owner of the damaged property monetary restitution in the amount of the pecuniary damage caused by the act of graffiti and to perform community service, which shall include removing the graffiti from the property, if appropriate. If community service is ordered, it shall be for either not less than 20 days or not less than the number of days necessary to remove the graffiti from the property.

Trial Ready New Jersey Criminal Lawyers

Like in all of our cases handled at the Bianchi Law Group, our experienced staff of trial attorneys and “of counsel” attorneys are there to make sure the Government can prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. If our attorneys cannot resolve the case with a dismissal or a fair and just plea bargain, our lawyers at The Bianchi Law Group will not hesitate to select a jury and take the case to trial. That is what we do and what distinguishes us from other attorneys. We are former prosecutors, trial tested, and certified by the New Jersey Supreme Court as certified criminal trial attorneys… We will not hesitate to go to trial.

Contact Us Today for a Free Initial Consultation

Contact Former Morris County Prosecutor Robert A. Bianchi, Esq. and David J. Bruno, Esq. at The Bianchi Law Group, LLC online or call (862) 210-8570 to schedule a free initial consultation with an experienced New Jersey Defense Attorney.

At The Bianchi Law Group, we will take care to provide you Serious Attorneys for Serious Cases.

New Jersey Supreme Court - Certified Attorney
National Italian American Bar Association
National Italian American Bar Association 2
Avvo Rating - 10.0 Superb - Top Attorney Criminal Defense
New Jersey Association for Justice
New Jersey State Bar Association
Order Sons of Italy in America


4 York Avenue, 2nd Floor
West Caldwell, New Jersey, 07006
Phone: 862-210-8570

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