Criminal Damage to Property 2nd Degree in Georgia

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Explore the intricacies of 2nd-degree criminal damage to property in Georgia with Philip Kim Law, P.C. Learn about legal implications, penalties, and defense strategies. Call us for more information.

 

Author: Philip Kim, Founder, Philip Kim Law, P.C.

Defense lawyer Philip Kim has committed his career to standing up for the accused, and protecting the rights and reputations of his valued clients. If you face criminal charges in Georgia, we can provide you with the skilled, effective defense representation you need.

Published on February 21, 2024.

 

Criminal Damage to Property in the 2nd Degree

Are you or a family member facing charges of second-degree criminal damage to property? It’s crucial to understand the legal implications of such charges.

A conviction could have severe repercussions for both your personal and professional life. That’s why it’s essential to seek the assistance of an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible after your arrest.

At Philip Kim Law, P.C., our criminal defense attorneys have a wealth of experience handling cases like yours. We can thoroughly analyze your situation and devise effective defense strategies to pursue the most favorable outcome.

Understanding Criminal Damage to Property in the 2nd Degree

 

Criminal damage to property involves intentionally destroying or damaging another person’s property without their permission or authorization. The damaged property may be of several types, including personal property such as phones and vehicles and real property such as land and buildings.

In Georgia, there are two types of criminal damage to property charges, depending on the severity of the offense: first-degree and second-degree. First-degree criminal damage to property, outlined in Georgia Code § 16-7-22, involves knowingly endangering human life or interfering with public utilities such as sewerage, drainage, gas, power, or services without authorization.

Second-degree criminal damage to property, as defined in Georgia Code § 16-7-23, occurs when someone intentionally damages property without consent, and the damage exceeds $500. This charge can also apply if property is damaged using fire or explosives, whether intentionally or recklessly.

The elements that must be proven beyond reasonable doubt by the prosecutor to determine your guilt regarding second-degree criminal damage to property include:

  • That you caused damage to someone else’s property.
  • That you caused the damage willfully or intentionally.
  • The worth of the damaged property exceeds $500.
  • That you had no permission or consent from the property owner to damage said property.

Legal Consequences and Penalties

The penalties for criminal damage to property are severe and can impact you negatively. Under Georgia law, criminal damage to property in the second degree is a felony; if convicted, the penalty is a minimum of one year and a maximum of five years of prison time.

However, a person convicted of first-degree criminal damage to property may be sentenced to up to ten years in prison, and several factors or circumstances surrounding the case can influence the severity of the penalties.

Long-Term Implications

A conviction for criminal damage to property in the second degree can have lasting and long-term implications on you. Since the offense is a felony, you lose your right to vote until your sentence has been fully served. You also cannot vote while you are on probation or parole.

A conviction for criminal damage to property also remains permanently on your criminal record. Beyond the legal penalties of prison term, such conviction may affect your future employment opportunities and even your housing, especially if the damage you caused was to a real property.

Common Defense Approaches

Understanding available defenses is crucial if you’re charged with second-degree criminal damage to property. While some defenses may be applicable, others won’t stand in court. For example, merely because a property owner hasn’t posted any trespassing signs doesn’t excuse damaging their property. Knowing what defenses can and cannot be used in such cases is important.

The following defenses may be available to you when you are facing criminal damage to property in the second-degree charge:

  • Lack of intent: The offense of criminal damage to property in the second degree requires you to have wilfully and intentionally caused the damage to another person’s property. You can lead evidence to show that you did not intend to damage the owner’s property. Where this element of intention is lacking in your case, it may be a viable defense for you.

  • That the damage caused did not exceed $500: If it is proved that the damage caused is less than $500, your charge of criminal damage to property would be negated. A common way to place value on property damages is for the victim to have the damage repaired and tender the repair receipt showing the repair cost in evidence during the trial.

  • A prosecutor would not meet the burden of proof if the only evidence presented in the trial were the owner’s verbal estimation of the property’s value. This would not suffice as adequate evidence. It’s important to note that even if the damaged property is valued at less than $500, you may still face charges for a separate crime. However, this could prevent a conviction for second-degree criminal damage to property.

  • Property owner’s consent: You would also have a viable defense if the property owner permitted you or authorized you to damage their property.

At Philip Kim Law, P.C., we understand that every case of criminal damage to property in the second degree is unique, often with its own set of circumstances. That’s why we meticulously craft defenses tailored to each case. We recognize that the details surrounding these incidents can vary widely, and it’s crucial to address them accordingly. Our personalized approach ensures that we thoroughly analyze the specifics of your situation to provide the most effective defense strategy possible.

Contact Philip Kim Law, P.C. on Cases Involving Criminal Damage to Property in the 2nd Degree

It is essential you understand criminal damage to property in the second Degree and address it speedily. That you are charged with this offense does not automatically guarantee a conviction, as several defenses can be available to you.

Hiring experienced criminal defense attorneys like our attorneys at Philip Kim Law, P.C., would benefit you when you face any criminal charges, including criminal trespassing, criminal damage to property, second degree burglary, and any other violent crimes.

Utilizing our experience in Georgia criminal laws and extensive experience in criminal defense, we offer comprehensive assistance in evaluating your case, devising potential defense strategies, and representing you in court. Employing a personalized approach for each case, we are committed to securing the optimal outcome for you.

Contact us to schedule a free consultation today!

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Philip Kim Law, P.C.
368 West Pike Street, Suite 203
Lawrenceville, GA 30046
(678) 203-6968
Fax: (678) 273-3501
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