Frequently Asked Questions
What is Mischief?
What are Common ways Individuals get Charged with Mischief in Kitchener?
What is Domestic Mischief?
What are the Penalties for those Convicted of Mischief in Kitchener?
-Mischief Related to Property
-Mischief in Relation to Computer Data
-Mischief in Relation to Religious Property or Educational Institutions
-Mischief in Relation to Cultural Property
-Mischief in Relation to War Memorials
-Mischief Endangering Life
How to Defend a Mischief Charge in Kitchener?
Assaulting a Peace Officer
Sexual Assault Law in Canada
Consequences of a Criminal Record
Keeping Charges Private
Travel & US Waivers
Vulnerable Sector Screening
Elements of a Crime
What is Mischief?
The definition of mischief as outlined in the Criminal Code encompasses a wide variety of damage and interference. Further, the Criminal Code prescribes enhanced sentences for those convicted of committing mischief in relation to certain types of property. Section 430(1) of the Criminal Code states that a person is guilty of criminal mischief when they intentionally destroy or damage property, render property useless, ineffective, dangerous or inoperable, or interfere with or interrupt the lawful use, enjoyment or operation of property.
The Code also outlines mischief involving computer data in section 430(1.1). It states that a person is guilty of mischief in relation to computer data when they alter, render meaningless, useless or ineffective, obstructs, interferes with or interrupts the lawful use of computer data, or denies access to a person who is entitled to access computer data.
The Criminal Code also prescribes enhanced sentences for those convicted of mischief in relation to certain types of property. This property includes; religious property, educational institutions, cultural property and war memorials. Additionally, where a person endangers human life in committing mischief there are also enhanced penalties.
What are Common Ways Individuals are Charged with Mischief in Kitchener?
Property related offences are far more prevalent than violent crimes in Ontario and all over Canada. As a result, mischief offences are among the most common before the Court in Kitchener. Due to the broad definition of mischief provided in the Criminal Code, a wide variety of destruction or interference involving a wide array of properties may be considered criminal mischief.
Individuals are commonly charged with mischief for intentionally breaking something that does not belong to them. For example, if an individual wilfully caused damage to another person’s personal property such as a vehicle or cell phone, they will be guilty of criminal mischief. Another common way individuals are charged with criminal mischief is for interfering with the lawful use of property. For example, if an individual were to run out onto the field during a sporting event, causing a disruption, they would be charged with mischief.
Individual’s may also be charged with criminal mischief if they tamper with computer data. For example, an individual who hacks into a computer system belonging to another person and tampers with the data in some way, may be charged with mischief in relation to computer data.
What is Domestic Mischief?
One of the most common examples of mischief, however, is domestic mischief. While there is no separate offence in the Criminal Code for domestic mischief, an individual who commits mischief in a domestic situation may face more aggressive prosecution and harsher penalties upon conviction.
An individual is guilty of domestic mischief when they damage, destroy or interfere with property or computer data that is owned in whole or in part by their domestic partner. For example, if a married person caused damage to their matrimonial home, they may be charged with domestic mischief since the home is owned jointly by the accused and their domestic partner.
What are the Penalties for Those Convicted of Mischief in Kitchener?
The penalties for those who are convicted of a mischief related offence may vary significantly from one offender to the next. This is due to the wide array of damage and various interruptions that can be considered criminal mischief in Canada. Mischief offences are all (excluding mischief endangering life) dual procedure offences meaning that the Crown may elect to proceed by summary conviction or by indictment. Which path the Crown chooses will depend largely on severity of the allegations and value of the damage caused or the value lost as a result of the interference. Where the Crown elects summarily, the accused will face less serious penalties than if the Crown proceeds by indictment.
Mischief Related to Property
Mischief related to property is the most common mischief related offence in Kitchener and other parts of Ontario. This section covers damage done to both private and public property. If the damage caused does not exceed $5,000, a charge of mischief under $5,000 will be laid. If the damage caused does exceed $5,000 a charge of mischief over $5,000 will be laid. Both offences are considered dual procedure offences.
If the Crown proceeds by indictment and the accused is convicted of mischief under $5,000, the accused will face up to two years’ imprisonment. If the Crown proceeds summarily and the accused is convicted of mischief under $5,000, the accused will face up to two years less a day and/or a $5,000 fine.
If the accused is convicted of mischief exceeding $5,000 or mischief involving a testamentary instrument, and the Crown proceeds by indictment, the accused will face up to ten years’ imprisonment. If they Crown proceeds summarily and the accused is convicted, the maximum penalty will be two years less a day and/or a $5,000 fine.
Mischief in Relation to Computer Data
Mischief in relation to computer data is a dual procedure offence with a maximum sentencing range from two years less a day and/or a $5,000 fine where the Crown proceeds summarily to ten years where the Crown proceeds by indictment.
Mischief in Relation to Religious Property or Educational Institutions
Mischief in relation to religious property or educational institutions is a dual procedure offence. The Crown will elect to proceed summarily or by indictment depending on the nature of the damage or interruption and the value of the loss that resulted. Where the Crown proceeds summarily the accused will face up to two years less a day in prison, a $5,000 fine or both. If the Crown elects to proceeds 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 dual procedure offence. If 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 in Relation to War Memorials
Mischief in relation to war memorials is a dual procedure offence. Where the Crown proceeds by indictment the accused will face up to ten years in prison and where the Crown proceeds summarily the accused will face up to two years less a day in prison and/or a $5,000 fine. In addition to these sanctions, those charged with committing mischief in relation to a war memorial will face a minimum $1,000 fine for a first offence regardless of the value of the damage caused. On a second offence, an accused will face a minimum of fourteen days in prison and on a third or subsequent offence, the accused will face a mandatory thirty days in prison.
Mischief Endangering Life
Mischief endangering life is the most serious of mischief offences and is the only mischief related offence that is not a dual procedure offence. An individual who commits mischief and, in the process, endangers human life, will be guilty of a straight indictable offence. Such an offender will face a maximum of life in prison if they are convicted.
Due to the very serious consequences that may result from a mischief conviction, it is important to contact experienced legal counsel as soon as possible. Donich Law can help guide you through the Court process and ensure you receive the best outcome for your set of charges.
How to Defend a Mischief Charge in Kitchener?
Defending mischief charges can be particularly difficult, especially with CCTV cameras being utilized more and more. In many cases, those charged with mischief offences have been caught on camera. In these cases, there is often little an accused can say to defend the accusations. In these situations, it is important to hire experienced legal counsel as soon as possible. At Donich Law we have experience defending individuals charged with various mischief offences and regularly negotiate with Crown counsel to, in some cases, have charged reduced or withdrawn altogether.
What is Mischief?
An individual has committed criminal mischief when they willfully destroy, damage, alter, render useless, or interrupt or interfere with the lawful use of property belonging to another person or entity. An individual is also guilty of criminal mischief if they destroy, alter or render inoperable or meaningless computer data.
Will I go to Jail for Mischief?
Maximum penalties for those convicted of mischief offences range from two years less a day in prison to life in prison. Whether or not an accused will be incarcerated for committing mischief will depend on the nature and severity of the allegations, the value of damage caused and the accused’s criminal history.
What are Common Penalties for First Time Offenders Charged with Mischief?
In Canada, Court’s typically do not sentence first-time offenders to jail for minor offences. As a result, first time offenders are often placed on probation, issued fines and/or ordered to complete community service hours.
How does the Crown Prove a Mischief Charge?
To gain a conviction for criminal mischief in Kitchener, the Crown must prove to the Court, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the accused individual committed one of the prohibited acts outlined in section 430(1) or 430(1.1) of the Criminal Code. Additionally, they must prove that the accused intentionally committed the act.
Will People Find out About my Mischief Charge?
In Canada, our Court process, for the most part, is open to the public. This means that virtually anyone can attend criminal court proceedings. Additionally, once an individual is convicted of a criminal offence, that conviction becomes part of the public record. It is possible to reduce the amount of exposure by hiring legal counsel to attend court proceedings on your behalf.
What other Impacts Could a Mischief Conviction Have on my Life?
Having a criminal record in Canada can lead to implications on various aspects of an individual’s life. For example, many employers require criminal background checks prior to hiring and are reluctant to hire individual's with criminal histories. Additionally, having a criminal record can make it difficult to travel outside of Canada, as many countries deny entry to those with criminal records.
How to get Mischief Charges Dropped?
In some cases, it is possible to negotiate with the Crown early on in criminal proceedings and have criminal mischief charges withdrawn. Whether or not this is possible will depend on a myriad of factors including the nature and severity of the allegations against the accused, the value of the damage or interruption and the criminal history of the accused.