Mississippi summers bring free time and heat – two things that often aren’t conducive to good decision-making. This can lead to a charge of “malicious mischief.”
That’s the term under Mississippi law. It’s often known as vandalism. Mississippi law states that a person engages in malicious mischief if they “maliciously or mischievously destroy, disfigure, or injure, or cause to be destroyed, disfigured, or injured, any property of another.”
The consequences depend on the property damaged
The offense can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony, based on the cost to repair or replace the property that is damaged. If that cost is over $1,000, it’s typically a felony. A person convicted of malicious mischief may have to serve prison time, pay a fine and/or pay restitution to the property owner.
If the site of the vandalism is a public property like a courthouse or government building, school, cemetery or place of worship, the potential penalties are greater. Further, if the vandalism was targeted at someone “because of the actual or perceived race, color, ancestry, ethnicity, religion, national origin or gender of the victim or because they’re a first responder,” it could be charged as a hate crime.
Encouraging malicious mischief is also illegal
Even if a person never touched the property in question, they could still face charges. The law states, “Anyone who by any word, deed or act directly or indirectly urges, aids, abets, suggests or otherwise instills in the mind of another the will to so act shall be considered a principal in the commission of said crime and shall be punished in the same manner.”
If you are facing malicious mischief charges, it’s crucial that you take them seriously. A conviction can be life-altering. It’s wise to seek legal guidance to protect your rights as you deal with the justice system.