What Is Criminal Mischief in Texas?

According to the law offices of Richard C. McConathy in Dallas, Texas, criminal mischief crimes typically consist of property damage, including destruction, vandalism, defacement, graffiti and arson. While the common belief is that criminal mischief is a minor offense, criminal mischief sometimes puts other people in danger or interferes with public utilities. In Texas, individuals who commit criminal mischief are charged with misdemeanors or felonies depending on the severity of the crime.

Texas attorney Matt Horak explains that criminal mischief occurs when an individual intentionally damages or destroys property, tampers with property, causes a loss or inconvenience to the property owner, or creates markings of some kind on an owner's property. Criminal mischief in Texas is punishable as a misdemeanor or as a lesser felony that carries the potential for jail time of up to ten years. The punishment sought depends on the specifics of the crime.

According to the law office of Penny Wymyczak-White in Houston, Texas, the majority of criminal mischief incidents are charged as misdemeanors, but if more than $1,500 worth of damage occurs, it is possible that felony charges are levied. Types of property damage that are categorized as criminal mischief include breaking windows, keying windows, destroying school property and defacing another person's house with spray paint. Individuals who damage their own property cannot be convicted of criminal mischief.