The Massachusetts Crime of Malicious Destruction of Property

What Does It Mean to Be Charged with Malicious Destruction of Property in Massachusetts?

Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 266 §127 makes it a crime to maliciously and willfully destroy the property of another. To find you guilty of this crime, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the destruction of or injury to the property was willful and malicious, not simply wanton. The terms willful and malicious require proof of a cruel, hostile or vengeful intent in addition to the intentional doing of the act itself. The value of the property destroyed or injured is critical to the charge itself. It is important that a person charged with this offense contact a Massachusetts Criminal Defense Lawyer who has defended people against these charges in the past. Attorney Kathleen McCarthy has the experience to persuade the prosecution, a jury or the judge of the intent of the person charged with the offense. The best Massachusetts Criminal Lawyers often succeed in getting these charges dismissed without a trial.

What Are the Massachusetts Penalties for Malicious Destruction of Property?

The Massachusetts legislature takes seriously the destruction of property. Prosecutors in Massachusetts look to punish those convicted of this crime in several ways. They seek to deter future similar conduct and to compensate the victims for the damages sustained. Punishments permitted by law in Massachusetts for a conviction of this offense are:

  1. If the destruction of the property is willful or malicious, then you can be punished as follows:
    1. Incarceration in state prison for up to 10 years; or
    2. A fine of up to three thousand dollars ($3,000.00) or three times the value of the property destroyed, whichever is greater, and incarceration in the county house of correction for up to two and one half (2 ½ )years

  2. If the destruction of the property is wanton then you can be punished as follows:
    1. A fine of up to one thousand five hundred dollars ($1,500.00) or up to three times the value of the property, whichever is greater;
    2. Imprisonment in the county house of correction for up to two and one half (2 ½) years

  3. If the value of the destroyed property does not exceed $250.00:
    1. A fine of up to three times the value of the property;
    2. Imprisonment of up to 2 ½ months in the county house of correction
Do I Need a Lawyer If I Am Charged with This Crime?

It is always a good idea to have a lawyer if you have been charged, or if you think you will be charged, with a crime. Recognizing that all situations are different, an experienced attorney can evaluate the evidence that the District Attorney has and make an informed decision on whether a client should go to trial or dispose of the case with a favorable disposition short of trial.

I Received a Summons for a Clerk’s Hearing. What Should I Do?

If you receive a summons in the mail to appear in the local district court for a clerk’s hearing, you should immediately contact a lawyer. Having a lawyer represent a client at a clerk’s hearing is always a good idea because it avoids the client having to speak, which can sometimes make matters worse. Also, there are many situations in which a case can be disposed of without having a complaint issue that an attorney may be able to negotiate.

Massachusetts Criminal Defense Attorneys like Kathleen McCarthy understand how to defend against charges of malicious destruction of property. If you have been charged with this crime your best defense is to contact Attorney Kathleen McCarthy. She will fight for you and protect your rights.

Case Results » The Massachusetts Crime of Malicious Destruction of Property
  • Felony Charge of Malicious Destruction Of Property Valued at Over $250.00 Dismissed On The Trial Date

    The police report alleged that the defendant struck a motor vehicle that was driven by his girlfriend. The police were called and the defendant was arrested and charged with malicious destruction of property valued at over $250.00. Pictures were taken of the alleged damage.

    Our office conducted extensive interviews and developed a sound trial strategy. On the day of trial the Commonwealth could not prove how the damage was incurred on the vehicle. The case was dismissed.

    Read More in Violent Crimes

  • College Student Charged With Felony Avoids Prosecution

    A local college student embarked on a night of partying that resulted on him being summonsed to court to face a felony charge of malicious destruction of property valued over $250.00 [M.G.L. ch. 126 section 266]. The defendant contacted our office and we went right to work with the goal of preventing the young student from being arraigned in the District Court. Avoiding an arraignment is the best result because it ensures that the incident will NEVER be located in a criminal history search.

    Attorney McCarthy contacted the District Attorney's Office prior to the arraignment date and informed the representative that restitution had been paid to the establishment for damage to the property. The client's impressive educational, employment and commitment to the community was also stressed. The District Attorney's Office agreed to divert the case out of the criminal court system to the Diversion Program. Provided the defendant satisfies certain conditions in a short period of time, the case will be dismissed prior to arraignment.

    Read More in Pretrial Diversion

  • Client Avoids Prosecution For Breaking and Entering, A Felony Count of Malicious Destruction of Property and Trespassing Following Clerk-Magistrate's Hearing

    What began as a fun filled day of riding dirt bikes and socializing ended with the group receiving summonses in the mail for breaking and entering [M.G.L. ch. 266 Section 16A], a felony count of malicious destruction of property valued over $250 [M.G.L. ch. 266 Section 127] and trespassing [M.G.L. ch. 266 Section 120]. Apparently, as the preoccupied group pedaled they entered a fenced off area of private property and allegedly sprayed fire extinguishers that resulted in damage to the property. The police tracked down the group and they received summons to appear in court and face criminal charges.

    One of the errant bikers contacted our office and we went right to work. After conducting interviews and reviewing the facts Attorney McCarthy presented a compelling case to the clerk based on the law and facts in support of the position that a complaint should not issue. The clerk agreed and provided the defendant stays out of trouble for in a short period of time, the client will NOT face criminal charges. The client left the courthouse relieved and will not have to go in front of a judge.

    Read More in Theft Crimes