Criminal Mischief

Under MCA § 45-6-101, a person commits the offense of criminal mischief if the person knowingly or purposely:

  • injuries, damages, or destroys any property of another or public property without consent; or
  • without consent tampers with property of another or public property so as to endanger or interfere with persons, property, or its use;
  • damages or destroys property with the purpose to defraud an insurer; or
  • fails to close a gate previously unopened which the person has opened, leading in or out of any enclosed premises, not in a city or town.

The offense is charged as a misdemeanor if the damage caused is less than $1,500 or as a felony if the damaged caused is more than $1,500. 


Elements of Criminal Mischief

Under MCA § 45-6-101, the following elements of criminal mischief must be proven:

  1. That the Defendant damaged, injured, or destroyed the property of the alleged victim or public property; and
  2. That the Defendant did so without the consent of the alleged victim;
  3. That the Defendant acted knowingly or purposely;

OR

  1. That the Defendant tampered with the property of the alleged victim or public property so as to endanger or interfere with the persons, property; or its use; and
  2. That the Defendant did so without the consent of the alleged victim; and
  3. That the Defendant acted knowingly or purposely;

OR

  1. That the Defendant [damaged] [destroyed] property; and
  2. That the Defendant did so with the purpose to defraud an insurer; and
  3. That the Defendant acted knowingly or purposely; or 

OR

  1. That the Defendant failed to close a gate previously unopened which he had opened, leading in or out of any enclosed premises; and
  2. That the gate was not located in a city or town; and
  3. That the Defendant acted knowingly or purposely.

For any felony charge of criminal mischief, the following elements must be proven that the Defendant caused pecuniary loss in excess of $1,500.00, injured, or killed a commonly domesticated hoofed animal, caused a substantial interruption, impairment of public communication or transportation, or supply of water, gas, power, or other public services.

The standard jury instruction for criminal mischief can be found at MCJI 6-101.


This article was last updated on Monday, September 12, 2016.

Location:

Beebe Law Firm - Criminal Defense & DUI
1085 Helena Ave. Helena, MT 59601