Atlanta Criminal Damage to Property in the First Degree
Sometimes property damage happens. You may accidentally break someone’s phone or other types of property. However, if you are accused of intentionally damaging property, it may be Criminal Damage to Property In the First Degree under the Georgia statute O.C.G.A. 16-7-22.
What is O.C.G.A. 16-7-22 in Atlanta Georgia?
According to the state’s criminal statute, criminal property damage is the intentional act of causing physical harm to another individual’s property. The damage must be physical. This type of physical damage includes breaking, tearing or crushing property. Furthermore, you allegedly damaged the property without the consent of the property’s owner.
Property damage is further broken down by degrees. In Atlanta Georgia, you can be charged with first or second degree property damage depending on the facts of the case.
Criminal Damage to Property in the First Degree in Atlanta Georgia is the Tougher Criminal Charge
Criminal property in the second degree is the lighter criminal charge. Criminal property damage in the second degree occurs in two ways. You were accused of intentionally damaging someone’s property without their permission. You allegedly damaged their property valued at less than $500. You can also be charged with this second degree crime if you allegedly intentionally or recklessly damage another individual’s property by using explosives or fire.
Criminal damage to property in the first degree involves committing one of two elements and is the harsher of the two crimes. You are accused of knowingly interfering with property owned by someone else without their permission. You allegedly interfered with the property in a way that endangered human life. This means you are not only accused of damaging property, you are accused of placing a person or people in harm’s way while you damaged the property.
You can be accused of interfering with any transportation, public communication or public utility system by:
- Without permission and
- Use of force or violence
The Punishment for Criminal Damage To Property in the First Degree Conviction in Atlanta Georgia
Anyone charged and convicted of committing property damage in the first degree will be punished according to the felony statute. A second degree charge is one to five years in prison. A first degree conviction of property damage is one to 10 years in prison.
Yeargan & Kert, LLC is Your Atlanta Georgia Property Damage Attorney
You are probably wondering what you need to do to avoid a conviction. Is there anything you can tell the court to make them believe you are innocent? Do you have to take a plea deal to avoid going to jail?
You have a lot of options to defend yourself against a property damage in the first degree. For instance, we can attack the elements of the crime like intentionally damaging property. Attacking the elements weakens the prosecution’s case. Remember, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty. Attacking the elements of a property damage charge may make their case harder to prove.
We can also fight to get the charge reduced from first degree to second degree property damage. This charge has a punishment of one to five years in prison.
The primary goal of a legal defense is to get the victim some restitution. They generally want the damage to their property repaired, fixed or replaced. So the prosecutor may be willing to agree to a plea if the money is paid to repair, fix or replace the damaged property.
What we will do after your free case evaluation is to investigate the criminal charge against you. We want to determine if the state has any evidence against you that is considered anything other than circumstantial.
Our investigation includes contacting witnesses, challenging the alleged victim’s statement and trying to negotiate a lesser charge. For example, the prosecution may offer you a deal to reduce the first degree criminal trespass charge to a second or third degree charge. Each charge has a lesser punishment. Some people take the deal, if offered, because they want to put the criminal charge behind them.
You do have the option to take a plea deal. The ultimate decision will be yours if you want to take a deal to put this criminal charge behind you. We will provide you with the best information to make the decision. That is part of our job. We will fight the charge to get it dismissed.
Preparing for trial is another thing we do to fight your case. We are determined to prepare a case that is tough and makes the state want to reconsider whether they want to continue to prosecute you. We are not scared about challenging the state’s witnesses or evidence at trial.
Rest assure you have a tough legal team with extensive experience in defending a criminal trespass case. If you are charged with criminal trespass in the first degree and other charges, do not worry. We know how to defend you against those charges too.
Our primary goal is to develop the best defense strategy available to help you avoid the harsh punishment related to the damaged property in the first degree conviction. Let’s discuss your case during our free case evaluation. We will inform you of more specific defenses and legal options to choose. Contact Yeargan & Kert, LLC for help.