Law Offices of Christie A. Leary P.C.
Call Us: 703-359-7111

Teens are known for getting into trouble, and many people dismiss their actions as "harmless fun" and "kids being kids." However, these actions can result in criminal charges and significant consequences.

For example, Virginia is known for its rich history, and there are a number of historical monuments and memorials all over the state to honor this history. But, young people may act irresponsibly and choose to vandalize, remove or damage this valuable property. Repairs are often costly, and due to the historical nature of some of this property, repairs may not always be an option.

As a result, Virginia lawmakers are determined to prevent as much of this damage as possible. According to Virginia Code, Section 18.2-137, intentionally defacing, damaging, removing or destroying property may result in a Class 1 misdemeanor, if the value of the property is less than $1,000. If the value of the property is more than $1,000, a conviction could result in a Class 6 felony. The convicted party may be ordered to pay restitution, once the fair market cost of repair or fair market replacement value is established.

In some cases, people may accidentally damage property while engaging in unlawful actions. For instance, if a person is driving recklessly and crashes into a statue, they may not have intended to destroy the statue, but they were breaking the law by driving recklessly, and therefore, may still be liable for property damage. In most cases, this type of property damage charge will be classified as a Class 3 misdemeanor, a less serious charge than intentional property damage.

If charged with the destruction of property, the prosecutor will need to prove one engaged in unlawful activity or destroyed the property intentionally. The attorney will help defend against these charges and present evidence to show one is not criminally negligent and not acting with the intent to destroy property.

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