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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
  • Domestic Assault and Battery and Felony Malicious Destruction to Property Charges Against Engineer Dismissed Prior to Arraignment

    Our client is an engineer and operations manager at an aviation manufacturing facility in Massachusetts. A few months ago he and his girlfriend began arguing over suspected infidelity. The girlfriend had been drinking and as the argument progressed she became enraged. She began striking our client, throwing household objects at him and screaming at him loud enough to cause neighbors to their home alarm. The police were called and the woman claimed that our client had struck her and caused the damage to the household items. The police arrested our client and charges were filed against him. He hired Attorney Neyman to represent him. We were able to get the arraignment continued long enough to conduct our own investigation of the incident. Through witnesses and videotape evidence we were able to demonstrate that our client was not responsible for that at all and that the girlfriend had fabricated the charges of domestic assault and battery under G.L. c. 265 Section 13M and malicious destruction to property under G.L. c. 266 Section 127. In fact, she had committed these offenses. Accordingly, we succeeded in getting all charges dismissed prior to arraignment.

    Read More in G.L. c. 266 Section 127

  • Felony Complaint Charging Vandalism, Breaking and Entering in the Night Time With the Intent to Commit a Felony and Larceny Over $1,200 do not Issue After Clerk Magistrate Hearing

    The defendant is a lifelong resident of a rural Boston town. On June 1, 2019 she and her boyfriend got into an argument. She called the police. They arrived and met with the boyfriend who claimed that she had during an argument our client had thrown out and destroyed his clothes. That he later left the home to find his car had been vandalized and broken into and that many of his personal items had been stolen. The officers arrested the woman and issued her a summons for a clerk magistrate hearing charging vandalism under G.L. c. 266 Section 126A, larceny over $1,200 in violation of G.L. c. 266 Section 30 and breaking and entering with the intent to commit a felony under G.L. c. 266 Section 16. All of these are felonies in Massachusetts. Today, at the clerk magistrate hearing Attorney Stephen Neyman was able to persuade the clerk magistrate not to issue a complaint. 

    Read More in Vandalism

  • Pretrial Probation for College Student Charged With Malicious Destruction to Property, Assault and Battery on a Police Officer, Resisting Arrest and Disorderly Person

    Of February 22, 2019 the defendant, a freshman at a local university was at a party highly intoxicated at an off campus party. He became separated from his friends and started to walk back to campus. He lost his cell phone and could not call an Uber. He went up to a home and grabbed the door handle trying to get into the home. The homeowner called the police. Officers arrived and confronted the defendant. He struck one of the officers and was wrestled to the ground. He was charged with malicious destruction to property G.L. c. 266 Section 127, assault and battery on a police officer G.L. c. 265 Section 13D, resisting arrest G.L. c. 268 Section 32B and disturbing the peace G.L. c. 272 Section 53. Attorney Neyman was hired to represent the defendant. Through negotiations with the prosecutor and an excellent, caring probation officer our client was able to enter into a restorative justice program. All charges will be dismissed via pretrial probation under G.L. c. 276 Section 87 after the completion of the program.

    Read More in Restorative Justice

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