The Massachusetts Crime of Malicious Destruction of Property

What Does It Mean to Be Charged with Malicious Destruction of Property in Massachusetts?

Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 266 §127 makes it a crime to maliciously and willfully destroy the property of another. To find you guilty of this crime, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the destruction of or injury to the property was willful and malicious, not simply wanton. The terms willful and malicious require proof of a cruel, hostile or vengeful intent in addition to the intentional doing of the act itself. The value of the property destroyed or injured is critical to the charge itself. It is important that a person charged with this offense contact a Massachusetts Criminal Defense Lawyer who has defended people against these charges in the past. The criminal attorney has the experience to persuade the prosecution, a jury or the judge of the intent of the person charged with the offense. The best Massachusetts Criminal Lawyers often succeed in getting these charges dismissed without a trial.

What Are the Massachusetts Penalties for Malicious Destruction of Property?

The Massachusetts legislature takes seriously the destruction of property. Prosecutors in Massachusetts look to punish those convicted of this crime in several ways. They seek to deter future similar conduct and to compensate the victims for the damages sustained. Punishments permitted by law in Massachusetts for a conviction of this offense are:

  1. If the destruction of the property is willful or malicious, then you can be punished as follows:
    1. Incarceration in state prison for up to 10 years; or
    2. A fine of up to three thousand dollars ($3,000.00) or three times the value of the property destroyed, whichever is greater, and incarceration in the county house of correction for up to two and one half (2 ½ )years

  2. If the destruction of the property is wanton then you can be punished as follows:
    1. A fine of up to one thousand five hundred dollars ($1,500.00) or up to three times the value of the property, whichever is greater;
    2. Imprisonment in the county house of correction for up to two and one half (2 ½) years

  3. If the value of the destroyed property does not exceed $250.00:
    1. A fine of up to three times the value of the property;
    2. Imprisonment of up to 2 ½ months in the county house of correction
Do I Need a Lawyer If I Am Charged with This Crime?

It is always a good idea to have a lawyer if you have been charged, or if you think you will be charged, with a crime. Recognizing that all situations are different, an experienced attorney can evaluate the evidence that the District Attorney has and make an informed decision on whether a client should go to trial or dispose of the case with a favorable disposition short of trial.

I Received a Summons for a Clerk’s Hearing. What Should I Do?

If you receive a summons in the mail to appear in the local district court for a clerk’s hearing, you should immediately contact a lawyer. Having a lawyer represent a client at a clerk’s hearing is always a good idea because it avoids the client having to speak, which can sometimes make matters worse. Also, there are many situations in which a case can be disposed of without having a complaint issue that an attorney may be able to negotiate.

Massachusetts Criminal Defense Attorneys like The attorney understand how to defend against charges of malicious destruction of property. If you have been charged with this crime your best defense is to contact The criminal attorney. She will fight for you and protect your rights.