Mischief to property occurs when any person knowingly; (1) destroys or damages property, (2) renders property dangerous, useless, inoperative or ineffective, (3) obstructs, interrupts or interferes with the lawful use, enjoyment or operation of property, or (4) obstructs, interrupts or interferes with any person in the lawful use, enjoyment or operation of property.
In order to be convicted, the Crown must prove that the actions of the accused left the property either less suited for its intended purpose or that the usefulness or value of the property was impaired, even if only temporarily. The penalty upon conviction will depend upon many factors including whether bodily harm was caused to another person, the nature of the property involved in the offence, the value of the property, and the motive behind committing the offence.
The most common charges under a mischief offence:
- Mischief under $5000 – Criminal Code section 430
- Mischief over $5000 – Criminal Code section 430
- Criminal record
- Jail time of up to 10 years (Over $5000); Jail time of up to 2 years (Under $5000)
- Fine of up to $5000
Under the Criminal Code, it is required that the accused acted 'willfully'. Accidental acts won't meet the standard of willfully damaging property sufficient enough to cause criminal damage.What is the difference between mischief under $5000 and mischief over $5000?
To be charged with mischief over $5000, the value of the damaged item must exceed $5000.