Malicious Destruction of Property
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:
- The defendant destroyed or injured another person’s property.
- 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.
- 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.
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
Law Offices of Stephen Neyman, P.C. (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.
Felony Charges of Malicious Destruction to Property Over $250 do not Issue
The defendant is a high-ranking executive at a well-known tech firm in the greater Boston area. On January 10, 2018 he was crossing the street at a crosswalk and was involved in an incident where he was almost struck by a car. After an exchange of words the defendant then kicked the front passenger side of the person's car. The vehicle sustained damage and the police were called to investigate. The defendant was summonsed for a clerk magistrate hearing for a charge of malicious destruction to property, a felony under G.L. c. 266 Section 127. Attorney Neyman was hired. Prior to the hearing Attorney Neyman, with the assistance of a very compassionate detective and the victim was able to work this case out and avoid court. No complaint issued.
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Felony Malicious Destruction to Property Charges Against College Students do Not Issue After Clerk Magistrate Hearing
The defendants are freshmen at a local college in Boston. On September 9, 2017 they were observed standing on the cap of the bed of a pickup truck having their picture taken by another individual. The campus police witnessed the incident and contacted the owner of the vehicle who subsequently reported damage to the cap in excess of $250. The students were charged with malicious destruction to property over $250 in violation of G.L. c. 266 Section 127, a felony in Massachusetts. A clerk magistrate hearing was ordered. Our office represented the defendants at the hearing and convinced the clerk magistrate not to issue the complaint in exchange for making immediate restitution. No complaint issued.
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Charges of Criminal Harassment Dismissed
In August of 2015 members of the North Andover, Massachusetts Police Department met with residents of an upscale neighborhood who complained about getting flat tires from roofing nails on their property. Investigators checked the area and found driveways and lawns saturated with these nails. A security videotape was located and on it the police saw a man taking objects from a bag and throwing them on the various lawns and driveways where the nails were found. Some of the victims positively identified the defendant as the person in video. He was charged with criminal harassment, G.L. c. 265 Section 43A and felony malicious destruction to property G.L. c. 266 Section 127. Today, Attorney Neyman was able to get the criminal harassment charges dismissed and the remaining charges were given pretrial probatin or continued without a finding.
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