Justia Lawyer Rating
Super Lawyers Badge
Avvo Badge
Massachusetts Bar Association
Top-Rated Lawyer

Malicious Destruction of Property

What is Malicious Destruction of Property in Massachusetts?

Massachusetts General Laws chapter 266, §127 prohibits malicious destruction of property. To convict a defendant of this criminal offense, the government has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:

  1. The defendant destroyed or injured another person’s property.
  2. The defendant did so willfully. “Willful” means intentionally. An accidental act is not a willful act. In order to be willful, a person must intend both the act and the consequences.
  3. The defendant did so maliciously. “Malicious” means “out of cruelty, hostility or revenge.” In order for an act to be “malicious,” there must be some hostility towards the property owner, though it is not required that the owner’s identity be known to the defendant.
Is This a Misdemeanor or a Felony?

If one is charged with malicious destruction to property over $250, then the government must also prove that the property itself is worth more than $250. In other words, it is not the actual damage caused but the value of the property damaged. Malicious destruction to property over $250 is a felony in Massachusetts.

In addition to malicious destruction of property, General Laws chapter 266, §127 prohibits wanton destruction of property over $250. Destruction of property is “wanton” if done recklessly and with a conscious disregard of substantial harm to people or property. Foresight of or intent to cause the damage is not required, but mere negligence does not amount to “wanton” conduct. To be a “wanton” act, an act must be intentional and not accidental.


Malicious destruction of property over $250 is punishable by:

  • Up to ten years in the state prison
  • A fine of the greater of $3,000 or three times the value of the damaged property
  • Up to 2 ½ years in jail

Malicious Destruction of Property Under $250 is Punishable by:

  • A fine of three time the value of the damage to the property
  • Up to 2 ½ months imprisonment

Massachusetts Property Crimes Defense Attorney 617-263-6800

Stephen Neyman is a leading Massachusetts lawyer who has successfully defended countless individuals accused of malicious destruction of property. Attorney Neyman is known for his aggressive approach to defense in all cases. Malicious destruction of property charges can be serious and may affect your future. In order to minimize the impact of such criminal charges, it is wise to contact an experienced criminal lawyer right away.

Stephen Neyman has been defending the criminally accused for more than 20 years. He has the expertise to achieve the best possible result in your malicious destruction of property case. Attorney Neyman is often successful in getting these types of charges dismissed

Massachusetts Property Crimes Defense Attorney 617-263-6800

To speak with Attorney Stephen Neyman about malicious destruction of property or any other criminal matter, call the Law Offices of Stephen Neyman, P.C. at 617-263-6800 or contact Attorney Neyman by e-mail. His primary office is located in downtown Boston, and he also has a North Andover office for the convenience of his clients. Attorney Neyman regularly appears in courts all over the state, so do not hesitate to speak with him about a criminal matter in any Massachusetts or federal court.

Case Results » Malicious Destruction of Property
  • Charges of Malicious Destruction of Property Under $1,200 Against Contractor to be Dismissed

    The defendant is a local contractor who builds high end homes. In August of 2021, in the early morning hours he entered a hotel where he had a reservation. Due to the hour, the desk attendant refused to honor the reservation. The man became upset and started breaking objects in the hotel lobby. He left the property and was summonsed for a charge of malicious destruction of property in violation of G.L. c. 266 section 127. We were able to get him pretrial probation under G.L. c. 276 section 87. All charges will be dismissed.

    Read More in Malicious Destruction of Property

  • Charges of Malicious Destruction to a Motor Vehicle Against War Veteran Dismissed Prior to Arraignment

    Our client is a well decorated war veteran. Over a year ago, after a dispute with a co-worker our client was accused of spray painting his car. The damage was extensive. The charges against our client were malicious destruction to a motor vehicle which is a violation of G.L. c. 266 section 28a. That is a felony in Massachusetts, a conviction for which would leave our client unemployable. Additionally, these charges cannot be continued without a finding. A finding of guilty would also result in an indefinite loss of license. Today, we prevailed on the court to dismiss all charges prior to arraignment on the condition that our client pay restitution in full. The case is dismissed. 

    Read More in Motor Vehicle Crimes

  • Charges of Malicious Destruction to Property Over $1,200 and Assault Against College Professor do Not Issue After Clerk Magistrate Hearing

    Our client is a college professor at a well known top ranked university. In April of this year he was involved in a road rage incident on a busy suburban street. The cars came to a stop at a traffic light. Our client got out of his car and struck the window of the victim's car and threatened to kill both of them. The victims provided our client's vehicle information to the police. An identification was made and our client was summoned to court for a clerk magistrate hearing. The police were applying for complaints for malicious destruction to property over $1,200 under G.L. c. 266 section 127 and two counts of assault under G.L. c. 265 section 13A. Today, at a clerk's hearing we convinced the clerk magistrate not to issue a complaint. 

    Read More in Malicious Destruction to Property 

Client Reviews
"We went to trial and won. He saved me fifteen years mandatory in state prison for this case." A.C. Boston, Massachusetts
"I hired him and he got the case dismissed before I had to go into a courtroom. My school never found out and if they had I would have lost my academic scholarships. He really saved my college career." Melissa C. Cold Spring, New York, October 2013
"My union rep told me to call Steve Neyman. From the get go I felt comfortable with him. He took the time to talk to me about my case whenever I needed .... He even gave me his personal cell number and took all my calls. We won the case and I kept my job." Bart L. S.
"The best criminal defense lawyer in Massachusetts. Takes all of his client's calls at any time of the day or night. He was always there for me and my family. Steve saved my life." Jacquille D. Brockton, Massachusetts
"In less than two months Stephen Neyman got my old conviction vacated. I now have no criminal record." Paul W. Boston, Massachusetts