What is destruction of property in Virginia?
If any person unlawfully destroys, defaces, damages or removes without the intent to steal any property, real or personal, not his own, or breaks down, destroys, defaces, damages or removes without intent to steal…he shall be guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor; provided that the court may, in its discretion, dismiss the charge if the locality or organization responsible for maintaining the injured property, monument, or memorial files a written affidavit with the court stating that it has received full payment for injury. If any person intentionally causes such injury, he shall be guilty of (i) of a Class 1 misdemeanor if the value of damage to the property, memorial or monument is less than $1,000 or (ii) a Class 6 felony if the value of or damage to the property is $1,000 or more.Va. Code § 18.2-137
Destruction of property is the most common vandalism charge under Virginia Law. This is not a larceny charge as this charge only involves damage to a property not the taking of the property. The penalty and consequences of a destruction of property charge ranges depending on the value of the property that is damaged. It can range from a misdemeanor to a felony, as described above in the code. A jail sentence is a possibility so it is important to discuss your case with an attorney.
Defenses for a destruction of property charge:
There are many defenses to a destruction of property charge. One of the most common is whether the damage was done recklessly or intentionally. That could be the difference between a Class 3 misdemeanor which does not carry any jail time or a Class 1 misdemeanor, respectively, which carries up to one year in jail. Another way to resolve cases like these is through accord and satisfaction (Va. Code 19.2-151). Through accord and satisfaction, if payment for the damage is made to the damaged party, you have a chance at having your charges completely dismissed.