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We often take our relationship with items and property for granted. This may be, in part, because of the lack of regard characters in TV shows and movies show their own or other people’s property. For entertainment value, you may see scorned spouses throwing their partner’s belongings out of a window. You might see someone keying a car or egging a person’s house. In fiction, this type of property damage is quickly accepted and forgotten. However, in real life, willful destruction of property that belongs to someone else can be a crime. If you deface, or destroy someone else’s property, whether it is real estate or a personal item, you could face serious property damage charges.

If you have been arrested for destruction of real or personal property in Charlotte, NC, call the criminal defense lawyers at Randall & Stump, PLLC right away. Depending on your alleged conduct, you may face a misdemeanor or felony offense. In either situation, you should have an experienced property crimes lawyer represent and defend you. Contact us today at (980) 237-4579 to schedule a free consultation of your case and learn more about the charges and penalties you face under North Carolina property law.

Injury to Real Property

Under North Carolina General Statute (NCGS) § 14-127, you can be charged with a class 1 misdemeanor if you willfully and wantonly damage, injure, or destroy any real property whatsoever, whether it is private or public property.

You will only be charged under this statute if the property in question is real property. This is defined as land and the fixtures on or attached to it, such as homes, commercial buildings, garages, walls, fences, gates, and more.

There are a variety of ways you could face charges under this statute. You may be accused of egging someone’s house and breaking a window. Something you thought of as a funny prank could result in criminal charges. If you face accusations of setting fire to someone’s shed or garage, you may face property damage charges and avoid felony arson charges because the building was not a dwelling or a specifically protected building.

Whatever the situation that leads to these allegations and criminal charges, the best thing for you to do is to work with a defense attorney who is experienced in fighting property crimes in Charlotte, NC.

Injury to Personal Property

If you are accused of causing damage to personal property that was not yours, then you may face charges under NCGS § 14-160. This law states that if you wantonly and willfully injure the personal property of another, you can be charged with a class 2 misdemeanor. However, if you damage someone else’s personal property, which is worth more than $200.00, then you will face class 1 misdemeanor charges.

To be clear, the laws covering injury to personal property does not require complete destruction of personal property – only that you injure the property. You may deface property in a way that could be repaired, damage an item in a way in which it cannot feasibly be repaired, or you could destroy an item to the point where it is not recognizable. In all of these situations, you may face a class 1 or 2 misdemeanor under this statute.

In order to be charged with injury to personal property, you must have harmed someone else’s property that is not real property. In other words, it was not land or a building or other fixture upon someone’s land. This could be a vehicle, artwork, jewelry, mobile phone, laptop or other electronic, or any other item someone owns that is not real estate.

Other Property Damage Charges You May Face

Injury to real or personal property are only two of North Carolina’s many property crimes. You should call our Charlotte property crimes lawyers if you are accused of or charged with:

  • NCGS § 14-127.1 – Graffiti Vandalism
  • NCGS § 14-128 – Injury to Trees, Crops, Lands, Etc. of Another
  • NCGS § 14-132 – Disorderly Conduct in and Injuries to Public Buildings and Facilities
  • NCGS § 14-135 – Cutting, Injuring, or Removing Another’s Timber
  • NCGS § 14-136 – Setting Fire to Grass and Brushlands and Woodlands
  • NCGS § 14-137 – Willfully or Negligently Setting Fire to Woods and Fields
  • NCGS § 14-141 – Burning or Otherwise Destroying Crops in the Field
  • NCGS § 14-144 – Injuring Houses, Churches, Fences, and Walls
  • NCGS § 14-146 – Injuring Bridges
  • NCGS § 14-147 – Removing, Altering, or Defacing Landmarks
  • NCGS § 14-148 – Defacing or Desecrating Grave Sites
  • NCGS § 14-149 – Desecrating, Plowing Over, or Covering up Graves; Desecrating Human Remains
  • NCGS § 14-159.4 – Cutting, Mutilating, Defacing or Otherwise Injuring Property to Obtain Nonferrous Metals

These are just a few of North Carolina’s many property crimes. There are also several other statutes related to trespassing on others’ property, arson, and interfering with water, natural gas, electricity, and telephone systems. If you are accused of any type of property crime in Charlotte, call the criminal defense firm of Randall & Stump, PLLC right away.

Punishment for Destruction of Property

When you face property damage charges, your potential punishment depends on the class of the offense and your criminal record. North Carolina uses sentencing charts for both misdemeanors and felonies.

For a class 1 misdemeanor, potential penalties include:

  • One – 120 days in jail, fines, and varying collateral consequences

For a class 2 misdemeanor, you might be sentenced to:

  • One – 60 days in jail, fines, and an assortment of collateral issues following conviction

Following many property crime convictions, judges have discretion in the length and type of penalty you face, which is why it is essential to work with an experienced property crimes defense lawyer. By having a Charlotte criminal defense attorney defend you, you improve your chance of avoiding a conviction, as well as mitigating the consequences of conviction.