CRIMINAL MISCHIEF - PURPOSEFUL OR KNOWING
DAMAGE TO TANGIBLE PROPERTY
N.J.S.A.2C:17-3a(1)model jury charge
Countof the indictment charges defendant with committing the offense of criminal mischief.In pertinent part, the indictment alleges that:
(Read material part of Countto jury)
Defendant is charged with violating a provision of our law that provides that a person is guilty of criminal mischief ifhe/shepurposely or knowingly damages the tangible property of another person.In order to convict defendant of this offense you must find that the state has proved beyond a reasonable doubt each of the following three elements:
1.That defendant damaged tangible property;
2.That the tangible property damaged belonged to another person; and
The first element that the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt is that defendant damaged tangible property.To damage means to cause a loss, injury or deterioration that reduces the value or usefulness of something.Tangible property means real or personal property that is visible and corporeal,i.e., something that can be seen and touched.
The second element that the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt is that the damaged property belonged to another person.Property of another person means that defendant is not the owner of the property damaged.In this case, the State alleges that the tangible property damaged was(description)of(name).
The third element that the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt is that defendant acted purposely or knowingly whenhe/shedamaged the property.A person acts purposely with respect to the nature ofhis/herconduct or a result thereof if it ishis/herconscious object to engage in conduct of that nature or to cause such a result.A defendant acts purposely with respect to attendant circumstances ifhe/sheis aware of the existence of such circumstances or believes or hopes that they exist.In other words, for you to find that defendant acted purposely, you must be satisfied that the State has proved beyond a reasonable doubt that it was defendants purpose or conscious object to damage another persons tangible property.
A person acts knowingly with respect to the nature ofhis/herconduct or the attendant circumstances ifhe/sheis aware thathis/herconduct is of that nature, or that such circumstances exist, orhe/sheis aware of a high probability of their existence.A person acts knowingly with respect to a result ofhis/herconduct ifhe/sheis aware that it is practically certain thathis/herconduct will cause such a result.Thus, for you to find that defendant acted knowingly, you must be satisfied that the State has proved beyond a reasonable doubt that defendant knew whathe/shewas doing and that defendant was aware that the nature ofhis/herconduct and the attendant circumstances were such as to make it practically certain that defendants conduct would cause damage to anothers tangible property.
You should understand that purpose and knowledge are conditions of the mind.They cannot be seen.They can only be determined by inferences from conduct, words or acts.Therefore, it is not necessary for the State to produce witnesses to testify that defendant stated, for example, thathe/sheacted with purpose or knowledge whenhe/shedid a particular thing.It is within your power to find that proof of purpose or knowledge has been furnished beyond a reasonable doubt by inference which may arise from the nature of the acts and the surrounding circumstances.The place where the acts occurred and all that was done or said by defendant preceding, connected with, and immediately succeeding the events in question are among the circumstances to be considered.
If you find that the State has not proved beyond a reasonable doubt every element of the offense, you must find defendant not guilty.But if you determine that the State has proved every element of criminal mischief beyond a reasonable doubt, you must find defendant guilty of that offense.
If you find defendant guilty of criminal mischief, you must then go on to determine the extent of the pecuniary loss that defendant caused.Pecuniary loss means a financial or monetary loss suffered by the owner of the damaged property.The extent of the pecuniary loss caused by defendant must be proved by the State beyond a reasonable doubt.If you find defendant guilty, you must indicate in your verdict whether you find the extent of the pecuniary loss suffered by the owner:
1.amounts to $2,000 or more,
2.amounts to more than $500 but less than $2,000, or
3.amounts to $500 or less.
SeeRandom House Dictionary of the English Language(2d ed., unabridged).
SeeRegistrar & Transfer Co. v. Dir. Div. of Taxation,157N.J.Super. 532, 539 (Ch. 1978),revdo.g. 166N.J.Super. 75 (App. Div. 1979),certif. den.81N.J.63 (1979).Tangible property does not include intangibles such as contract rights or choses in action.Miller, 33N.J. Practice, Criminal Law, 13.6 at 332 (2001 ed.).
Where appropriate, charge that property of another includes property partly owned by defendant in which any other person has an interest which defendant is not privileged to infringe.SeeN.J.S.A.2C:20-1h.
There is also a form of criminal mischief that is not dependent on the amount of pecuniary loss suffered by the victim.This involves criminal mischief that causes a substantial interruption or impairment of public communication, transportation, supply of water, gas, power, or other public service and constitutes a third degree offense.SeeN.J.S.A.2C:17-3b(1).When applicable, the jury should be instructed on this aspect of the statute instead of or in addition to the pecuniary loss issue.In such an instruction, the jury must be charged that a substantial interruption or impairment, etc., must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt by the State.
In determining the extent of pecuniary loss, cost of repairs or other methods of proving damages in civil cases can be used.Cf.,State v. Burks, 188N.J.Super., 55, 60-61 (App. Div. 1983),certif. den., 93N.J.285 (1983).For proving the value of a damaged item, the standard is fair market value at the time of the offense.SeeN.J.S.A.2C:1-14m.
If the jury has a reasonable doubt regarding the amount of pecuniary loss incurred or cannot reach a unanimous verdict on that issue, a conviction for criminal mischief as a disorderly persons offense should be entered.Cf.,State v. Clarke, 198N.J.Super. 219, 226 (App. Div. 1985).
|Consequences of a Criminal Guilty Plea|
1. You will have to appear in open court and tell the judge what you did that makes you guilty of the particular offense(s)
2. Do you understand that if you plead guilty:
a. You will have a criminal record3. If you are on Probation, you will have to submit to random drug and urine testing. If you violate Probation, you often go to jail.
4. In indictable matters, you will be required to provide a DNA sample, which could be used by law enforcement for the investigation of criminal activity, and pay for the cost of testing.
5. You must pay restitution if the court finds there is a victim who has suffered a loss and if the court finds that you are able or will be able in the future to pay restitution.
6. If you are a public office holder or employee, you can be required to forfeit your office or job by virtue of your plea of guilty.
7. If you are not a United States citizen or national, you may be deported by virtue of your plea of guilty.
8. You must wait 5-10 years to expunge a first offense. 2C:52-3
9. You could be put on Probation.
10. In Drug Cases, a mandatory DEDR penalty of $500-$1,000, and lose your drivers license for 6 months - 2 years. You must pay a Law Enforcement Officers Training and Equipment Fund penalty of $30.
11. You may be required to do Community Service.
12. You must pay a minimum Violent Crimes Compensation Board assessment of $50 ($100 minimum if you are convicted of a crime of violence) for each count to which you plead guilty.
13. You must pay a $75 Safe Neighborhood Services Fund assessment for each conviction.
14. If you are being sentenced to probation, you must pay a fee of up to $25 per month for the term of probation.
15. You lose the presumption against incarceration in future cases. 2C:44-1
16. You may lose your right to vote.
The defense of a person charged with a criminal offense is not impossible. There are a number of viable defenses and arguments which can be pursued to achieve a successful result. Advocacy, commitment, and persistence are essential to defending a client accused of a criminal offense.
Jail for Crimes and Disorderly Conduct:
If someone pleads Guilty or is found Guilty of a criminal offense, the following is the statutory Prison/Jail terms.
NJSA 2C: 43-8 (1) In the case of a crime of the first degree, for a specific term of years which shall be fixed by the court and shall be between 10 years and 20 years;
(2) In the case of a crime of the second degree, for a specific term of years which shall be fixed by the court and shall be between five years and 10 years;
(3) In the case of a crime of the third degree, for a specific term of years which shall be fixed by the court and shall be between three years and five years;
(4) In the case of a crime of the fourth degree, for a specific term which shall be fixed by the court and shall not exceed 18 months.
2C:43-3 Fines have been increased recently! 2C:43-3. Fines and Restitutions. A person who has been convicted of an offense may be sentenced to pay a fine, to make restitution, or both, such fine not to exceed:
a. (1) $200,000.00 when the conviction is of a crime of the first degree;
(2) $150,000.00 when the conviction is of a crime of the second degree;
b. (1) $15,000.00 when the conviction is of a crime of the third degree;
(2) $10,000.00 when the conviction is of a crime of the fourth degree;
c. $1,000.00, when the conviction is of a disorderly persons offense;
d. $500.00, when the conviction is of a petty disorderly persons offense;