Our dedicated Crime Team can represent you at the Police Station, Magistrates Court, Crown Court or Appeal Court depending on your requirements.
If charged with a criminal damage offence, it is vitally important that you seek legal advice immediately as the penalties can often be severe.
Seatons solicitors can help assist on all kinds of criminal damage matters, and provide clear, easy-to-understand legal advice at low, sensible fees.
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Criminal Damage Offences
The definition of Criminal Damage:
The Criminal Damage Act 1971 classifies criminal damage as:
‘A person who, without lawful excuse, destroys or damages any property belonging to another, intending to destroy or damage any such property, or being reckless as to whether any such property would be destroyed or damaged.’
This offence is wide ranging and applies to any tangible property. For damage to be inflicted on a property however, it must be more than minimal and create a situation where the property’s value or usefulness has been affected in some way.
There are potentially three defences to choose from following a criminal damage charge:
- The defendant inflicted the damage in self-defence and the force used was reasonable.
- The defendant honestly believed the owner had given their consent, or the owner would have consented had they known the circumstances.
- The defendant inflicted the damage to protect other property, which they honestly believed needed protecting, and the damage caused was reasonable.
Sentencing For Criminal Damage Cases
In cases where the damage is less than £5000, the maximum sentence for criminal damage is six months imprisonment.
In cases where the damage caused is over £5000, the maximum sentence is ten years imprisonment.
For offences of criminal damage where there was also an intention to endanger life, either intentionally or recklessly, the maximum sentence available is life imprisonment.
Aggravated Criminal Damage
Aggravated Criminal Damage is the same offence as Criminal Damage, only there is also an intention to endanger life as well, either intentionally or recklessly.
Depending on the circumstances of the case, the maximum penalty for this offence is life imprisonment.
Due to the severity of this offence, it is vital that legal assistance is found at the earliest opportunity. Call us on 01536 276300 to find out more.
Arson is the criminal damage offence in which the damage was caused from a deliberate fire. The penalty can be as high as life imprisonment, depending on the extent of damaged inflicted, whether lives were endangered and any other aggravating factors.
Arson charges can even be brought in circumstances where the offender had no intention of causing damage to the property when the fire started. It is therefore important that legal assistance is found at the earliest opportunity. At Seatons, our team of experienced criminal lawyers can provide tailored advice, suited to your circumstances. Give us a call on 01536 276300 for more information.