Georgia Property Damage Lawyer
Not all crimes involve causing injuries to a person. In fact, some of the most commonly charged offenses in Georgia involve allegations of property damage. The penalties for committing this type of offense, however, are still serious, so if you have been accused of damaging someone else’s property, you should speak with a Georgia property damage lawyer who can evaluate your case and advise you accordingly.
In Georgia, a person can be charged with criminal trespass if he or she:
- Causes $500 or less in damage to another person’s property;
- Knowingly or maliciously interferes with the use or possession of someone else’s property; or
- Intentionally defaces any monuments or memorials dedicated to past or present U.S. military personnel.
Although a misdemeanor offense, conviction for criminal trespass could still result in up to one year in jail.
Second Degree Criminal Damage to Property
Criminal damage to property is broken down by degree for both charging and sentencing purposes. Both first and second degree criminal damage to property charges, however, are classified as felonies, which means that they come with significant penalties. A person can be charged with second degree criminal damage to property when the state can prove that the defendant:
- Willfully damaged someone else’s property that was worth more than $500; or
- Recklessly or intentionally damaged property of any value by fire or explosive.
While technically the less severe of the two forms of criminal property damage charges, a conviction for second degree criminal property damage still comes with a sentence of up to five years imprisonment.
First Degree Criminal Damage to Property
A person could be convicted of first degree criminal damage to property if he or she knowingly, and without permission, interfered with:
- Someone else’s property in such a way that could have endangered human life; or
- The operation of any public communication, utility, or transportation property through the use of violence or force.
Those who are convicted of this felony offense face between one and ten years in prison.
Smash and Grab Burglary
First and second degree criminal property damage are not the only property crimes with which a person can be charged in Georgia. A relatively recent change to the criminal code, for instance, makes it a separate crime to break display cases, windows, or doors in retail stores while intending to commit a theft. If the property is deemed to be worth more than $500, those accused of this crime could face between two and 20 years in prison and as much as $100,000 in fines.
Interfering with Government Property
If a person is accused of damaging, destroying, or defacing government property, he or she could be charged with a felony and be sentenced to between one and five years imprisonment. In fact, even interfering or obstructing traffic on government property is illegal and can be charged as a misdemeanor.
Schedule a Case Review Today
Being accused of causing even minor damage to someone else’s property could result in significant repercussions, so if you were recently arrested for a property damage-related crime, please call (770) 209-2310 to speak with the dedicated Georgia property damage lawyers at Hawkins Spizman about your legal options.