Criminal damage to property is one of Atlanta’s most common property damage crimes. In addition to 1st and 2nd degree offenses, charges for smash and grab and interference with government property also fall into this category of crimes. The punishments for these crimes vary greatly, and it is important that you understand the specifics of each charge. Having the knowledge of each type criminal damage to property charge may help you avoid getting prosecuted for a crime you didn’t commit.
If you would like more help in determining what part of this law you broke, you should get in touch with experienced criminal defense attorneys who are well-versed in the criminal damage to property laws in Atlanta. They will be able to make sure you are not unfairly treated during your legal proceedings.
1st Degree Criminal Damage to Atlanta Property
According to Georgia Code § 16-7-22, you may receive a 1st degree criminal damage to property charge if the prosecution has probable cause to believe that you knowingly, and without authority, interfered with property in a way that could have endangered human life. You may also receive this charge if you are thought to have interfered with the operation of any public communication, transportation or utility property by use of force or violence.
If you are charged with 1st degree criminal damage to property in Atlanta, it will be considered a felony crime. You will be sentenced to at least one year in prison, with a maximum sentence of 10 years.
2nd Degree Criminal Damage to Atlanta Property
According to Georgia Code § 16-7-23, you may receive a 2nd degree criminal damage charge if the prosecution has probable cause to believe you intentionally damaged someone else’s property without their consent, assuming the damage is valued at more than $500. You can also receive this charge if property of any value is recklessly or intentionally damaged by fire or explosive.
If you are charged with 2nd degree criminal damage to property in Atlanta, it will be considered a felony crime. You will be sentenced to at least one year in prison, with a maximum sentence of 5 years.
Smash and Grab Burglary in Atlanta
A tough new law has been put in place in Atlanta for what is known as a “smash and grab burglary.” According to Georgia Code § 16-7-2, this new law penalizes individuals that smash into retail display cases, break through windows, or break down doors of retail stores to steal merchandise.
If the property damage exceeds $500, the defendant could face at least two years of imprisonment and could face up to 20 years of jail time. They could also be fined up to $100,000. If the same person commits a smash and grab burglary a second time, they could face a minimum of 5 years imprisonment and a fine up to $100,000.
Interference to Atlanta Government Property
Interfering or obstructing traffic on government property is considered a misdemeanor offense. However, you can still face up to one year year in prison if you commit this crime.
Damage, destruction, or defacement of government property can lead to a felony charge with a potential sentence of imprisonment for at least one year and up to 5 years.
Contact an Experienced Atlanta Criminal Damage to Property Attorney Today
If you have been accused of criminal damage to property, feel free to contact the experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense attorneys at Andersen, Tate & Carr today. We will give you a confidential and free case evaluation. It is always our goal to protect our clients’ rights and achieve the best possible outcome in their case. We will work tirelessly to make sure your rights are protected throughout your legal proceedings.
Our criminal defense team has extensive experience with Atlanta criminal damage to property cases. If you are facing any these charges, please call Pat McDonough or Trinity Hundredmark for a free consultation to ensure that you are treated fairly in court.