Malicious Destruction of Property (MDOP) Defense Attorneys in Michigan
Everyone has heard the terms “vandalism,” “malicious mischief,” and “tampering.” These terms pertain to the crime of damaging someone else’s property without permission. In Michigan, we call the crime, Malicious Destruction of Personal Property (MDOP).
Some may not think the law would punish Malicious Destruction of Property crimes too severely because they deal with property, as opposed to a person being injured. The fact is that Courts and prosecutors do prosecute and punish these offenses harshly. Criminal laws in Michigan, and the potential penalties, reflect the value the government has for the protection of personal and real property.
Of course, there are situations where someone purposefully and intentionally destroys another person’s property. In those cases, a defense lawyer’s goal may be to help their client avoid a criminal conviction and jail time. In other cases, a defendant may be wrongfully accused, and dismissal may be the only acceptable option.
Penalties for Malicious Destruction of Property
The various maximum penalties and the factors they are based on are as follows:
- Value over $20,000.00 or 2 or more prior convictions for MDOP: 10 years in prison, 5 years court-supervised probation, and $15,000.00 fine or 3 times the value of the damaged property, whichever is greater;
- Value $1,000.00-$20,000.00 or 1 or more MDOP prior conviction: 5 years in prison, 5 years court-supervised probation, and $10,000.00 fine or 3 times the value of the property, whichever is greater;
- Value $200.00-$1,000.00: 1 year in jail, 2 years of probation, and $2,000.00 fine or 3 times the value of the property, whichever is greater;
- Value less than $200.00: 93 days in jail, 2 years of probation, and a $500.00 fine or 3 times the value of the property.
Malicious Destruction of Other Types of Property
Police and Fire Property
Anyone who destroys or even injures police or fire property may be charged with a felony. There is no dollar amount necessary; any damaging of the property is a felony.
Damaging a vehicle marked as a school bus or creating a danger or hazard to children riding in a bus is a 5-year felony with 5 years of a court-supervised probation.
Traffic Control Devices
Damaging, defacing, interfering with the functioning of or removing of a traffic control device is a crime. The penalties range from minor cases with no prior record (93-day misdemeanor) up to 1 year in jail if the defendant has one or more prior MDOP convictions on his record.
House, Barn, Other Building
If a person injures or destroys any such structures and causes damage of $20,000.00 or more (or 2 prior convictions), he may be charged with a 10-year felony, and face either a $15,000.00 fine or 3 times the value of the property, whichever is greater. A conviction for this offense may result in a 5-year term of probation.
If the value of the damage is between $1,000.00 and $20,000.00, and if the defendant has 1 or more prior convictions of this type of property, the penalty is up to 5 years in prison and $10,000.00 or 3 times the value of the damaged property, and 5 years of probation.
If the value of the damage is between less than $1,000.00, the penalty would be possible county jail time, fines, and up to 2 years of probation.
Utilities: Electric, Telecommunication, Natural Gas Infrastructure, or Railways
Maximum 5-year prison term and up to 5 years on probation.
Trees, Shrubs, Grass, Crops
Willful and malicious destroying, cutting down, or injuring these plants is a crime. Everyone has heard of “lawn jobs” where someone spins their tires across a lawn either as an adolescent prank or in a real effort to anger someone. This is a crime, and if the damage is $200.00 or less, the penalty is 93 days in jail and $500.00 fine or 3 times the value of the damage, and 2 years of probation. Being convicted of executing a lawn job also carries a mandatory suspension of the defendant’s driver’s license.
As the value of the damage increases, the offense can be charged as a felony.
Throwing or Dropping Stones or Other Objects on Trains and Motor Vehicles
We have all heard of instances where someone has dropped items off a bridge on a car, sometimes causing injury or even death. For obvious reasons, these crimes are harshly punished because they are so completely senseless and done in malicious disregard for the well-being of innocent people.
At the lower end of seriousness, if someone drops a rock or other item onto a car or throws such as thing at a car, even if no damage occurs, the penalty is up to 93 days in jail. If property damage does occur, the penalty jumps to 1 year in jail. Both of these convictions will also result in up to a 2-year term of court-supervised probation.
If the act causes any injury to another, the penalty climbs to 4 years in prison and a $2,000.00 fine. If the injury results in a serious impairment of a bodily function, the penalty is up to 10 years in prison and a $5,000.00 fine. If a death results, even accidentally, the penalty is up to 15 years in jail and a $10,000.00 fine; the same penalty as Manslaughter. All of these more serious charges also carry a possible 5-year term of court-supervised probation.
Malicious Destruction of Property Charges Defense Attorneys
The top-rated, highly experienced, and zealous defense attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have successfully represented thousands of clients on felony and misdemeanor Malicious Destruction of Property charges in Oakland, Macomb, Wayne, Washtenaw, and Livingston Counties and throughout Michigan. We have a well-earned reputation for providing the highest quality defense and aggressive representation, while showing empathy and care for each client.
Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation, or complete a Request for Assistance Form and we will contact you promptly.