Florida Vandalism Laws

Created by FindLaw's team of attorney writers and editors.

While acts of vandalism may seem like a minor or harmless offense, a single act of vandalism can cost businesses an average of $3,370, which can result in the need to raise prices in order to offset this loss. In the Sunshine State of Florida, certain types of vandalism charges can result in hefty fines and even years of jail time.

Understanding a Vandalism Charge in Florida

Under Florida law, vandalism is known as "criminal mischief." It is defined as the willful and malicious destruction of property belonging to another person. This definition includes graffiti or any other type of vandalism. The level of charge and the penalties associated with this crime will depend on the amount of damage caused.

Penalties for criminal mischief under Florida law can be quite strict under certain circumstances. If your vandalism results in the interruption of a business or public service like utilities, phone lines, or communications, you can be charged with a felony in the third degree. Similarly, defacing a church, synagogue, mosque, or other place of worship is a felony of the third degree, punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 and up to five years in jail.

Florida Vandalism Laws at a Glance

The following chart provides more information about Florida vandalism laws.

Statutes

  • Florida Statutes Section 806.13 (definition of criminal mischief)
  • Florida Statutes Sections 755.082 and 755.083 (penalties)

Definition

  • You have committed the charge of "criminal mischief" if you "willfully and maliciously" damage the real or personal property belonging to another.
  • The definition of criminal mischief includes the placement of graffiti, and other acts of vandalism.

Nature of the Charge

  • Criminal mischief can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the nature of the vandalism and the amount of damage caused.

Penalties

  • Vandalism resulting in property damage of $200 or less is a misdemeanor in the second degree, punishable by a fine of up to $500 and/or imprisonment of up to 60 days.
  • Vandalism resulting in property damage between $201 and $999 is a misdemeanor in the first degree, punishable by a fine up to $1,000 and/or imprisonment of up to one year.
  • Vandalism resulting property damage of $1,000 or more, or causing an interruption of business operation or public communication, transportation, supply of water, gas or power, or other public service which costs $1,000 or more in labor and supplies to restore is a felony of the third degree, punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 and/or imprisonment of up to five years.
  • Any person who willfully and maliciously defaces a church, synagogue, mosque, or other place of worship and causes damage to the property greater than $200 commits a felony of the third degree, punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 and/or imprisonment of up to five years.

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Related Legal Resources

Consider Speaking with a Lawyer About Your Florida Vandalism Case

The consequences for a vandalism charge can be significant. Depending on the amount of damage and the nature of the vandalism, you could face hefty fines and significant jail time. For this reason, it's extremely important to understand that laws of your state and how they apply in your case. An experienced criminal attorney can help. Consider speaking with one near you today.

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