FIRST OFFENDER? DEFEND MISCHIEF CHARGES IN GUELPH.  1-866-DEFENCE.

Donich Law has extensive experience defending individuals charged with various mischief related offences in Guelph and all over Ontario. We have defended high-profile cases as well as first-time offenders and regularly obtain positive outcomes for our clients.

In 2018, the Firm defended an accused charged with arson and disregard for human life in R. v. A.T. [2018]. In that case, the accused allegedly set an apartment building on fire causing roughly $100,000 in damage. The Firm was able to beat the charge after successfully challenging the Fire Marshal’s opinion regarding the origin of the fire.

In 2017, the Firm secured the judicial interim release a young woman charged with six counts of mischief after climbing to the top of a construction crane in downtown Toronto and becoming stuck. The woman had to be rescued by the Toronto Fire Department, causing the construction site to be shut down for several hours and attracting widespread media coverage.

In R. v. A.W. [2017], the Firm secured the withdrawal of a mischief charge after a teacher was accused of discharging a fire extinguisher and pulling a fire alarm inside a Toronto condominium, costing roughly $5,000 in fire department resources.

In 2015, the Firm defended a woman accused of intentionally clogging a toilet inside a Toronto police department in R. v. K.C. [2015]. In R. v. C.M. [2015], the Firm represented an individual charged with mischief after pouring water onto slot machines at Woodbine Racetrack. Ultimately, the charges were withdrawn.

In R. v. M.S. [2014], the Firm secured the withdrawal of a mischief charge laid against an individual after he ran across the field naked at a Blue Jays game, causing an interruption in the game.

If you have been charged with mischief in Guelph, Donich Law can assist you in defending the charges. We have experience defending a wide array of mischief related offences and have experience resolving such matters at an early stage in the court proceedings, in many cases, without a criminal record for the accused.

Having a complete understanding of the Elements of the Criminal OffenceYour Rights and the Consequences associated with a Criminal Record is necessary before any legal decisions are made.

CP24: Sentencing Hearing for Chair Girl.

CP24: Woman rescued from Crane in Toronto released on Bail on April 28, 2017.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Mischief?
Common ways People are Charged with Mischief in Guelph
What Penalties are Associated with a Mischief Conviction in Guelph?
Mischief in Relation to Property
-Mischief Over $5,000
-Mischief Under $5.000
Mischief in Relation to Computer Data
Mischief Endangering Life
Mischief in Relation to Religious Property or Educational Institutions
Mischief in Relation to Cultural Property
Mischief Relating to War Memorials
How to Beat a Mischief Charge in Guelph

Additional Resources

Assault
Assaulting a Peace Officer
Sexual Assault Law in Canada
Consequences of a Criminal Record
Domestic Abuse
First Offenders
Immigration Consequences
Keeping Charges Private
Travel & US Waivers
Vulnerable Sector Screening
Elements of a Crime
Your rights

What is Mischief?

In Canada, an individual may be charged with criminal mischief for a wide variety of behaviours, from running across a sporting stadium during a professional sporting event to intentionally causing damage to another person’s property. The offence is outlined in section 430(1) of the Criminal Code. It states that a person will be guilty of the offence of mischief in relation to property where they willfully damage or destroy property, render property useless, ineffective or inoperable, or interrupt or interfere with the lawful use, enjoyment or operation of property.

In addition to mischief in relation to property, the Code also outlines the offence of mischief in relation to computer data in section 430(1.1). It states that a person will be guilty of the offence where they alter, render meaningless, ineffective or useless, or interrupts or interferes with the lawful use of computer data, or denies access to a person who is entitled to access computer data.

Common ways People are Charged with Mischief in Guelph

In Ontario, property offences are far more common than violent crimes. Similarly, mischief is among the most common offences before the Court in Guelph and across Ontario. Due to the broad definition of the offence provided in the Criminal Code, a myriad of actions may be caught in the definition.

One of the most common ways individuals are charged with mischief is for interfering with the lawful use of property. For example, an individual may be charged with criminal mischief for running onto the field during a professional sporting event, trespassing onto a construction site and becoming stuck, causing the site to be shut down for some time, or for blocking public transit from carrying out its route.

Another common way individuals are charged with mischief is for causing damage to property belonging to someone else. For example, a person may be charged with mischief for intentionally causing damage the belongings of another person such a vehicle or smartphone.

What Penalties are Associated with a Mischief Conviction in Guelph?

The sentences handed down by the courts to those convicted of mischief may vary significantly from one accused to the next. This is due to the broad definition of criminal mischief provided in the Criminal Code. In cases involving more minor allegations, where very little damage was caused or where the accused is a first-time offender, accused’s may be sentenced to community service, probation and/or ordered to pay a fine. In cases involving more serious allegations, where more significant damage or loss was caused or where the accused is a repeat offender, they may be sentenced to a period of incarceration.

All mischief offences, with the exception of mischief endangering human life, are hybrid offences. This means that the Crown will elect to proceed by indictment or by summary conviction. This election will influence the maximum penalty that may be imposed on the accused by the Court.

Mischief in Relation to Property

Mischief in relation to property is the most common type of mischief offence in Kitchener and across Ontario. Mischief in relation to property offences are categorized based on the value of the damage or loss caused by the accused. Those who cause damage exceeding $5,000 will be charged with mischief over $5,000. Those who cause damage not exceeding $5,000 will be charged with mischief under $5,000. Both offences are hybrid offences.

Mischief Over $5,000

Where the Crown proceeds by indictment, the accused will face a maximum of ten years’ imprisonment. Where the Crown proceeds summarily, the accused will face a maximum of two years less a day imprisonment, a $5,000 fine, or both.

Mischief Under $5,000

Where the Crown proceeds by indictment the accused will face a maximum of two years’ imprisonment. Where the Crown proceeds summarily, the accused will face a maximum of two years less a day imprisonment, a $5,000 fine, or both.

Mischief in Relation to Computer Data

Mischief in relation to computer data is a hybrid offence. In cases where the Crown proceeds summarily, the accused will face up to two years less a day in prison, a $5,000 fine, or both. Where the Crown proceeds by indictment, the accused will face up to ten years in prison.

Mischief Endangering Life

Mischief endangering human life is the most serious mischief related offence in the Code. An individual commits the offence when they, in the process of committing mischief, endanger the life of another human being. If convicted, an accused will be guilty of a straight indictable offence and liable to a maximum term of life imprisonment.

Mischief in Relation to Religious Property or Educational Institutions

Mischief in relation to religious property or educational institutions is a hybrid offence. In cases where the Crown elects to proceed summarily, the accused will face up to two years less a day in prison, a $5,000 fine, or both. If the Crown chooses to proceed by indictment, the accused will face up to ten years in prison.

Mischief in Relation to Cultural Property

Mischief in relation to cultural property is a hybrid offence. If the Crown chooses to proceed summarily, the accused will face a maximum of two years less a day in prison, a $5,000 fine, or both. If the Crown chooses to proceed by indictment, the accused will face a maximum of ten years in prison.

Mischief Relating to War Memorials

Mischief relating to war memorials is a hybrid offence and the most serious property related mischief charge outlined in the Code. Where the Crown proceeds summarily the accused will face a maximum of two years less a day in prison, a $5,000 fine, or both. Where the Crown proceeds by indictment the accused will face a maximum of ten years in prison. In addition, those convicted for the first time will face a minimum $1,000 fine. Those convicted for a second time will face a minimum of fourteen days in jail and those convicted of a third or subsequent offence will face a minimum of thirty days in jail.

Due to the serious criminal sanctions that may be imposed on an accused who is convicted of mischief, it is important to contact and consult with experienced legal counsel as soon as possible if you have been charged. Donich Law can assist you in developing a strategy to defend the allegations against you and can negotiate with the Crown to ensure you receive the best possible outcome.

How to Beat a Mischief Charge in Guelph?

In recent years, defending mischief charges has become more and more difficult with the increased use of technology. With smartphones and CCTV cameras, it is not uncommon for those charged with mischief to have been caught on camera committing the criminal act. This can make defending the allegations very challenging.

In some cases, it may be possible to argue that the accused lacked the necessary intent to be guilty of the offence. Mischief is a general intent offence, meaning the accused need not have intended the specific type of damage that occurred. Rather, it is enough that the accused intended for damage of some sort to occur. For example, if an accused intentionally threw a rock at a building and accidentally hit a large window, shattering it and causing a significant amount of damage, they will be guilty of mischief. It is not relevant that the accused did not intend to shatter the window, because they intended to throw the rock. If, however, the accused caused damage accidentally, it may be possible to argue that they lacked the necessary intent.

The best defence for your set of charges will depend on the specific allegations being made. Donich Law can assist you in developing the best strategy to ensure the best possible outcome in your case.

Quick Facts

What is Mischief?

The offence of criminal mischief has been committed when an individual willfully destroys, damages, alters, interferes with or interrupts the lawful use of property. An individual is also guilty of criminal mischief if they destroy, damage, alter or render meaningless or inoperable computer data.

Can I be Sentenced to Jail for Mischief?

Yes. The maximum sentences for those convicted of mischief range from two years less a day to life imprisonment. However, those convicted of mischief are often sentenced to out of custody sanctions such as fines, periods of probation and community service. Whether or not the Court will sentence an offender to jail will depend on the nature and severity of the damage caused, or interference with property, and the criminal history of the accused.

Common Sentences for First-Time Offenders Charged with Mischief

Generally, those charged with mischief as a first-time offender will not be sentenced to a period of incarceration if they are convicted, unless the damage caused was significant. More commonly, those charged with mischief as first-time offenders will be given to non-custodial sanctions such as community service, fines or probation.

What is Domestic Mischief?

Domestic mischief is mischief occurring in a domestic partner situation. An individual who intentionally causes damage to property belonging, in whole or in part, to their domestic partner or family member is guilty of domestic mischief. This is true even if the accused is part owner of the property that was damaged.

Will a Mischief Conviction Affect Other Aspects of my Life?

Yes. Those with a criminal record in Canada may have difficulty gaining and maintaining employment. The vast majority of employers in Ontario now require a criminal background check before they will hire an individual. Many employers are hesitant to hire an individual with a criminal history. Additionally, traveling outside of Canada with a criminal record can be difficult. Many countries will not grant access to those convicted of certain crimes.

What if I was Drunk when I Committed Mischief?

The fact that an individual was intoxicated at the time they committed mischief will generally not be relevant. This is especially true because mischief is a general intent offence and the Crown need not prove that the accused intended to cause the specific damage that was caused. As long as the Crown can prove that the accused intended to cause some sort of damage, the fact that they were intoxicated and could not have foreseen the specific consequences that occurred will not be relevant.

What if I Intended to Cause Less Damage than Actually Occurred?

Generally, it does not matter that the accused did not mean to cause the level or severity of damage that occurred. The gain a conviction for mischief, the Crown must only prove that the accused intentionally caused damage. This means that it is not relevant that the accused intended to cause only a small amount of damage but ended up causing a large amount of damage.

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