At Lawtons we have a specialist team of criminal law solicitors who are able to advise and assist you with matters relating to criminal damage.
What is criminal damage?
Criminal damage is defined by law as any damage caused by an individual, or group of individuals, to an item of property – including buildings and possessions – which subsequently affects the value or function of the property.
The damage caused does not need to be permanent or irreparable to be defined as criminal damage.
An individual can also be convicted of criminal damage if they own part of the property and the co-owner or people who have a share in the property did not give their consent for damage to be caused.
Criminal damage and the law
Acts of arson, the destruction of property and defacing of property are all classified as criminal damage under UK law.
In order for criminal offence to be prosecuted successfully, several factors must be established which will impact the outcome of a case, including:
- Any damage must be visible
- Someone must have objected to or complained about the damage
- The damage must be proven to have been committed recklessly or with intention
Other factors which may be relevant to the case include:
- The extent of the damage caused
- Whether the damage is permanent
- To whom the property belongs
- Whether the damage was caused without lawful reason
- Whether it was the intention of the individual or group to cause the damage
- Whether anyone was injured as a result of the act of criminal damage
The presence of any – or all – of these factors will determine the severity of the sentence.
Sentencing for criminal damage
The sentence for an act of criminal damage will depend on the severity of the case and the value of any damage caused.
If the criminal damage amounts to less than £5,000 the maximum sentence is a term of imprisonment amounting to a maximum of six months. If the damage amounts to more than £5,000 the maximum sentence is a term of imprisonment amounting to a maximum of 10 years.
Typically the courts will ensure that victims are compensated by the offender.
What to do if you are accused of criminal damage
If you are accused of committing the offence of criminal damage, it is essential that you seek the advice of an expert solicitor as soon as you are able to do so. Specialist legal advice is critical to the overall outcome of your case and may determine the sentence or penalty received.
Criminal damage is a complex area of the law and at Lawtons we have the expertise to ensure each individual case is dealt with fairly, considering all relevant factors to ensure the best possible outcome.
For more information or to discuss an individual case with our team of specialist criminal damage solicitors, please get in touch or call us on 0333 577 0522.