Criminal Mischief

What to Ohio law enforcement constitutes criminal mischief may seem to many citizens like a harmless prank. However, the penalties for criminal mischief in Ohio are no joke – depending on the circumstances of the case, criminal mischief can be a felony charge with lifelong consequences.

An experienced Franklin County property crime defense lawyer can fight to protect your rights and your future from a Columbus criminal mischief conviction.

Columbus Criminal Mischief Defense Lawyer

To fight a serious charge in Ohio with serious penalties like those that come with criminal mischief, seek the counsel of a serious criminal defense attorney. If you are facing felony or misdemeanor charges of criminal mischief in Franklin County or the surrounding areas in Delaware, Madison, Union, Licking, Fairfield, or Pickaway County contact the knowledgeable and passionate property crime defense lawyers of (614) 444-1900 in Columbus.

Brian Joslyn and his legal team at Joslyn Law Firm will build a customized defense against your criminal mischief charges while fighting to protect your rights. Your first consultation with Joslyn Law Firm is free, so call (614) 444-1900 today and schedule yours.


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Ohio Criminal Mischief Terms Defined

In Ohio, some counts of criminal mischief involve computers or safety devices. To ensure proper justice, specific terms regarding these objects are given explicit definitions within the statute. The definitions for the terms in Ohio’s criminal mischief law can be found in O.R.C. § 2909.01, O.R.C. § 2909.07(B), and O.R.C. § 2913.01. An experienced criminal mischief defense lawyer serving Franklin County can help you understand how these terms apply to your criminal mischief case:

  • Computer – an electronic device that performs logical, arithmetic, and memory functions through the manipulation of electronic or magnetic impulses. This includes all input, output, processing, storage, computer program, or communication facilities that are connected or related in a computer system or network to an electronic device of that nature
  • Computer Contaminant - a computer program that is designed to modify, damage, destroy, disable, deny access to, functionally impair, record, allow unauthorized access to, or transmit information within a computer, computer system, or network without the express or implied consent of the owner or other authorized person, including viruses, worms, Trojans, Trojan horses, zombies, trap doors, root kits, or back doors
  • Computer Network – a set of related and remotely-connected computers and communication facilities that includes more than one communication system with the capability to transmit among the connected computers and communication facilities
  • Computer Program – an ordered set of data representing coded instructions or statements that when completed by a computer cause the computer to process data
  • Computer Services – includes the use of a computer system, computer network, computer program, data prepared for computer use, or data contained in a computer system or computer network
  • Computer Software – the documentation associated with the operation of a computer system, such as computer programs and procedures
  • Computer System – a connected or unconnected computer and related devices including data input, data output, storage devices, data communications links, and computer programs and data that make the system capable of performing specific tasks
  • Data – a representation of information, knowledge, facts, concepts, or instructions prepared in a formalized manner and intended for use in a computer, computer system, or computer network
  • Safety Device – any device or apparatus intended for protecting or preserving the safety of persons or property, including fire extinguishers, fire hoses, life preservers, alarm lights, flares, guard railings, traffic signs and signals, railroad grade crossing signs, signals and gates, and first aid or survival equipment
  • Telecommunication – the origination, emission, dissemination, transmission, or reception of data, images, signals, sounds, or other intelligence of any nature over any communications system by any method including a fiber optic, electronic, magnetic, optical, digital, or analog method
  • Telecommunications Device – Any instrument, equipment, machine, or other device that facilitates telecommunication such as a computer, computer chip, scanner, telephone, pager, radio, or modem

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Definition of Criminal Mischief in Franklin County

Criminal mischief as an illegal offense in Ohio is defined in O.R.C. § 2909.07. According to this statute, a person can be charged with criminal mischief in Franklin County if he or she:

  • Knowingly moves, defaces, damages, destroys, or otherwise improperly tampers with the property of another person
  • Employs a tear gas device, stink bomb, smoke generator, or other device releasing a substance that is harmful or offensive to exposed persons ,and/or usually causes public alarm, with the purpose of interfering with a person’s use or enjoyment of his or her property
  • Knowingly moves, defaces, damages, destroys, or otherwise improperly tampers with a bench mark, triangulation station, boundary marker, or other survey station, monument, or marker without privilege to do so
  • Knowingly moves, defaces, damages, destroys, or otherwise improperly tampers with any safety device on his or her own property or the property of another person so as to destroy or diminish its effectiveness or availability in the situation for which it was designed
  • Sets a fire on another person’s land, or places personal property that has been set on fire on another person’s land, outside and apart from any building or other with the purpose to interfere with the use and enjoyment of the property (Third degree misdemeanor)(harm = first degree)
  • Knowingly alter, damage, destroy, or modify a computer, computer system, computer network, computer software, or computer program with the intent to impair function, through means like computer hacking and computer contaminants, without privilege to do so

What consequences you may face due to a charge of any of the above criminal mischief depends on the specific facts of your case. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can fight to protect your rights and your future from a criminal mischief conviction by building a customized, comprehensive defense.


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Charges and Consequences for Ohio Criminal Mischief

If no other factors are involved, all of the above listed criminal mischief scenarios, with the exception of computer criminal mischief, are generally charged as third-degree misdemeanors. A third-degree misdemeanor in Ohio is punishable  by up to $500 in fines and 60 days of prison. Criminal mischief is a first-degree misdemeanor if committed on or to a computer, or if the other types of criminal mischief as defined in O.R.C. § 2909.07 involve a significant risk of physical harm to other person – an offense punishable by up to 6 months of jail time and/or a $1,000 fine.

Criminal mischief gets upgraded to a felony charge with significant financial damage from computer criminal mischief or if the property involved is an aircraft or any other equipment, implement, or material used in the operation of an aircraft, such as an aircraft engine, propeller, appliance, spare part, fuel, lubricant, or hydraulic fluid. It is recommended you retain an experienced Columbus defense attorney as soon as possible after your arrest to defend your rights and future against the following felony criminal mischief charges and their consequences:

Fifth-Degree Felony

  • 6-12 months in jail and up to a $2,500 fine
  • Computer criminal mischief with $1,000 - $10,000 damage
  • Aviation computer criminal mischief with risk of physical harm
  • Criminal mischief involving an aircraft or other type of  aviation equipment with risk of physical harm
  • Criminal mischief with smoke bombs, tear gas, or other similar devices involving an aircraft or type of  aviation equipment property and risk of physical harm
  • Criminal mischief with survey stations, monuments, markers, or other similar devices involving an aircraft or other type of  aviation equipment and risk of physical harm
  • Criminal mischief with a safety device involving an aircraft or other type of  aviation equipment and risk of physical harm
  • Criminal mischief with fire involving an aircraft or other type of  aviation equipment and risk of physical harm

Fourth-Degree Felony

  • 6-18 months of prison and up to $5,000 in fines
  • Computer criminal mischief with $10,000 or more in damage
  • Aviation computer criminal mischief with risk of physical harm due to the involvement of an occupied aircraft
  • Criminal mischief with an aircraft or other type of  aviation equipment with risk of physical harm due to the involvement of an occupied aircraft
  • Criminal mischief with devices like smoke bombs or tear gas and an aircraft or other type of  aviation equipment involving risk of physical harm due to the presence of an occupied aircraft
  • Criminal mischief with survey stations, monuments, markers, or other similar devices and an aircraft or other type of  aviation equipment with risk of physical harm due to the involvement of an occupied aircraft
  • Criminal mischief involving a safety device for an aircraft or other type of  aviation equipment with risk of physical harm due to the involvement of an occupied aircraft
  • Criminal mischief with fire involving an aircraft or other type of  aviation equipment and risk of physical harm due to the involvement of an occupied aircraft

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Joslyn Law Firm | Defense Attorney for Criminal Mischief in Franklin County

If you or a loved one has been charged with criminal mischief in and around Columbus, including Dublin, Westerville, Reynoldsburg, Grove City, Circleville, Delaware, Newark, Lancaster, Marysville, or London, contact the experienced and knowledgeable Franklin County criminal defense lawyers of Joslyn Law Firm. They will fight to get your criminal mischief case a favorable outcome while protecting your rights.

Call (614) 444-1900 today to set up your free consultation and find out what Joslyn Law Firm can do for you.