Criminal Mischief and Penalties For Vandalism in Pennsylvania


The penalties for a vandalism conviction in Pennsylvania depend on the value of the property destroyed. Unless agricultural or institutional vandalism is committed, other types of vandalism are usually referred to as “criminal mischief.

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;

Sentencing For Criminal Mischief

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

Summary Offense – $300 fine and up to 90 days in jail:

  • Intentional cause of property damage less than $150 in value.

Third Degree Misdemeanor – Up to one year in prison:

  • Intentional cause of property damage $500 -$1,000 in value;
  • Intentional cause of property damage $150 – $500 for a violation of using graffiti to deface property.

Second Degree Misdemeanor – Up to two years in prison:

  • Intentional cause of property damage $1,000 – $5,000 in value.

Third Degree Felony – Up to 7 years in prison:

  • Intentional cause of property damage over $5,000 in value;
  • Intentional interruption or impairment of public utility, transportation or other public services.

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, it is a second degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to two years in prison.For over $5,000 in value, a person faces third degree felony charges and up to seven years in prison and up to $15,000 in fines.

Contact the Pittsburgh Vandalism Attorneys

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.


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