Criminal Mischief and Penalties For Vandalism in Pennsylvania


The penalties for a vandalism conviction in Pennsylvania depend on the value of the property destroyed.  Vandalism is referred to as “criminal mischief” under Pennsylvania law. Pennsylvania Code Title 18 3304 defines criminal mischief as:

  • Intentionally damaging personal property of another;
  • Intentionally defacing or damaging public property with graffiti or aerosol spray-paint or marker;
  • Intentionally defacing private or personal property by use of paintball gun or paintball marker;
  • Intentionally or recklessly damaging tangible property of another by fire, explosives or other dangerous means;
  • Tampering with tangible property to intentionally endanger another person or property;

Criminal Mischief Penalties

Sentencing for criminal mischief ranges from a summary offense to a felony.

Intentional Cause of Property Damage Less Than $150 in Value

  • $300 fine and
  • up to 90 days in jail

Intentional Cause of Property Damage $500 -$1,000 in Value

  • Third Degree Misdemeanor
  • Up to one year in prison

Intentional Cause of Property Damage $150 – $500

Using Graffiti to Deface Property

  • Third Degree Misdemeanor
  • Up to one year in prison

Intentional Cause of Property Damage  $1,000 – $5,000 in Value

  • Second Degree Misdemeanor
  • Up to two years in prison

Intentional cause of property damage over $5,000 in Value

  • Third Degree Felony
  • Up to 7 years in prison

Intentional Interruption or Impairment of Public Utility, Transportation or Other Public Services

  • Third Degree Felony
  • Up to 7 years in prison

Penalties for Institutional Vandalism

If you were charged with vandalizing a school, church, place of worship or government building, you face more serious charges, especially as an adult.

For property damage less than $5,000 in value

  • second degree misdemeanor
  • punishable by up to two years in prison.

For over $5,000 in value

  • third degree felony charges
  • up to seven years in prison
  • up to $15,000 in fines.

Get Help Fighting Criminal Mischief Charges Today

At SMT Legal, we are compassionate and want to make a positive difference in the lives of our clients. We understand the Pennsylvania legal system and will resourcefully gather and examine evidence to build a strong legal strategy to defend your rights. Our Pittsburgh criminal defense attorneys at SMT Legal are skilled and experienced at winning property crime cases and fighting for charges to be reduced or dropped altogether. Contact us today for a free consultation.


Follow us on social media

Keep up with our latest news, see how we're giving back to the community, and stay connected!

Schedule your FREE Case