Massachusetts Willful or Malicious Destruction of Property Lawyer

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A willful or malicious destruction of property
case can be a very serious matter. It can be charged as a misdemeanor or as a felony depending on the circumstances – mainly the value of the property that was destroyed. If you are charged with
willful or malicious destruction of property in Massachusetts, it is important to hire an experienced

Massachusetts criminal defense lawyer
to help you with your case.

Massachusetts General Laws
c. 266, § 127

punishes, “Whoever destroys or injures the personal property, dwelling house or building of another in any manner or by any means.”

What Does Willful and Malicious Mean in Massachusetts?

An act is willful if it is done intentionally and by design. This is different than
an act which is done thoughtlessly or accidentally. You are acting
willfully if you
intend the conduct and its harmful consequences.

An act is done with malice if it is done out of cruelty, hostility or revenge. You
must act not only deliberately, but out of cruelty, hostility or revenge toward another.

What Makes Willful or Malicious Destruction of Property a Misdemeanor or a Felony in Massachusetts?

If the value of the property destroyed is over $1,200, then it can be charged as a felony.

If the value of the property destroyed is under $1,200, then it will likely be charged as a misdemeanor.

Relevant Case Law:

The value of the property destroyed or injured is a question for the jury and must be established beyond a reasonable doubt before it may be relied on to increase the range of punishment.
Commonwealth v. Beale, 434 Mass. 1024, 1025 (2001);
Commonwealth v. Lauzier, 53 Mass. App. Ct. 626, 633 n.10 (2002). Where the damage is repairable, the value of the property is to be measured by the pecuniary loss (usually the reasonable repair or replacement cost), and not by the fair market value of the whole property or of the damaged portion.
Commonwealth v.
Deberry, 441 Mass. 211, 221-22 (2004), rev’g 57 Mass. App. Ct. 93 (2003).

You can read more about the felony threshold and changes the legislature made here on our blog post.

What are the Penalties for Willful or Malicious Destruction of Property in Massachusetts?

Willful or Malicious Destruction of Property Over $1,200 Penalties

up to 10 years in state prison

up to 2.5 years jail in the House of Correction

or

a fine of $3,000 or 3 times the value of the damage caused to the property so destroyed or injured, whichever is greater

Willful or Malicious Destruction of Property Under $1,200 Penalties

up to 2.5 years jail in the House of Correction

a fine of 3 times the value of the damage to property

Depending on the circumstances, a conviction for willful or malicious destruction of property can potentially lead to incarceration, a criminal record, probation and/or hefty fines and fees. The stakes are high, and you need a high-quality Massachusetts willful or malicious destruction of property lawyer to help fight the charges. We will help create a unique defense and strategy given your circumstances to help fight your charges. Do not hesitate,

contact Ellison Law LLC today at 401-230-5520.

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