What if I plead guilty or am found guilty of criminal damage charges?
Since we can work with you from the very beginning of your case, our team of in-house criminal damage solicitors will be ready to offer up the best mitigation possible, as we will have an intimate knowledge of your case and the personal circumstances which led to the criminal damage.
This will allow comprehensive mitigation of the criminal damage offences, which will mean you will receive the best possible sentence in the circumstances.
How can DPP Law help?
DPP Law can work with you from your initial arrest right through to your trial and any appeals that might be necessary. This means that we can select the most appropriate member of our experienced team to represent you at every stage of the legal process.
This allows us to efficiently and fully examine the evidence in your case, which will mean your defence will be the strongest it can possibly be.
Our in depth knowledge means that we can take you through the case against you in a plain way and layout all of your available options clearly, allowing you to take control of your own case with our assistance and support.
Arson (Criminal Damage by Fire)
When property is destroyed or damaged by fire it is charged as the offence of arson. A person may be charged with arson if they caused the damage intentionally or recklessly. Further, the potential sentence will be significantly harsher if the fire endangers life.
If the damage caused is minor or moderate then the offence will usually be tried summarily in the Magistrates’ Court where the potential sentence will range from a high-level community order to a £5,000 fine and/or 6 months imprisonment.
If the damage caused is significant then the offence will be tried in the Crown Court in front of a jury and the maximum sentence is life imprisonment for the most serious forms of arson.
Racially or Religiously Aggravated Criminal Damage
A person will be charged with this offence when there is evidence suggesting that they have damaged a victim’s property due, in some way, to reasons of race or religion.
The maximum sentence that can be received for this offence is 14 years imprisonment and if found guilty of this offence the defendant will likely receive a higher sentence than would be imposed for standard criminal damage.
Types of Criminal Damage
Criminal Damage (other than by fire)
If the cost of the damage is under £5,000 then the offence will be tried summarily in the Magistrates’ Court. In these circumstances the potential sentence you could receive ranges from a low level fine and/or community sentence to a £2500 fine and/or 3 months imprisonment.
If the damage is between £5,000 and £10,000 then the offence is triable either way so may be disposed of in the Magistrates’ Court or in the Crown Court before a jury. In these circumstances the potential maximum sentence increases to a £5,000 fine and/or 6 months imprisonment.
If the damage exceeds £10,000 then the offence will be tried on indictment in the Crown Court before a jury. In these circumstances the potential maximum sentence increases to 10 years imprisonment.
What is Criminal Damage?
Criminal damage covers a long list of criminal acts that stretches from minor damage through to major damage. An example of relatively minor damage is small-scale graffiti while an example of major damage is arson.
Further to this, it covers unseen damage that stops the proper functioning of a property and other damage, which can endanger life.
Charges can be brought against a person based on them preparing to commit criminal damage, even when no damage has actually been caused.