Institutional Vandalism and Criminal Mischief

In Pennsylvania, you can be charged with criminal mischief if you intentionally damage, destroy or deface property that belongs to someone else.

If you damage or destroy property at a school, place of worship, cemetery, government building or courthouse, you can face institutional vandalism charges.


Penalties for criminal mischief depend largely on the value of the loss to the property.

If you are a minor, your lawyer will try to have your case tried in juvenile court.  If you are found to have committed a juvenile act that caused property damage, your punishment can include fines, probation, restitution and/or juvenile detention.

If you are tried as an adult for criminal mischief:

  • If you are found guilty of intentionally causing a loss that will cost more than $5,000 to repair, you face a felony of the third degree punishable by up to seven years in prison.
  • If the value to repair the damage is $1,000 to $5,000, it is a misdemeanor of the second degree punishable by up to two years in prison.
  • For $150 to $1,000 worth of damage, you can be charged with a misdemeanor of the third degree with a penalty of up to one year in prison.
  • For less than $150 in damage, it is a summary offense. You will face a $300 fine and up to 90 days in jail.

If your charge is institutional vandalism and the loss will cost more than $5,000 to repair, it is a felony of the third degree. If the value to repair the damage is less, it is a misdemeanor of the second degree.

What Your Lawyer Can Do

Your attorney will carefully review every aspect of your case to determine if there is evidence for all you have been accused of.

  • Your lawyer will make every effort to discredit any evidence not in your favor.
  • Much of what your lawyer can do to help you will depend on the exact circumstances of your case.
  • You may have acted without criminal intent. If so, your lawyer will gather the evidence or witnesses to prove it.

Your lawyer will be looking at every avenue that can help you, so it’s important that you give them all of the information that can support your case.

Your lawyer will try to keep your case in juvenile court.

How A Philadelphia Vandalism Attorney Will Help

If your child is arrested, you need an attorney who will stand by you every step of the way, work hard to discredit any evidence – and work with you to determine the best course of action.

Pennsylvania Minors Law

Laws for minors are described and defined in The Pennsylvania Code under Title 18, Chapter 63. Read the code here.

Questions? Contact us today.

Based on the evidence, Fienman Defense will try to get juvenile charges dismissed or lowered. Should the case go to a hearing or trial, we will fight to present the strongest defense possible for your situation.