Virginia Man Faces 8 Counts Of Property Damage In Leesburg
Local authorities charged a 20-year-old man from Leesburg, Virginia with eight counts of misdemeanor property damage, according to an article by the Loudoun Times-Mirror.
An official press release alleged that this Virginia man was involved in a series of graffiti incidents on public and private property. Apparently, these graffiti incidents occurred from January to February of 2022.
As a result of this incident, the Virginia man faces criminal charges for property damage. Though it remains unclear if this man faces charges for unlawful or intentional property damage in Virginia.
Although the Leesburg Police Department’s investigation is ongoing, it seems like a proper opportunity to explore the differences between unlawful and intentional property damage in Virginia.
Unlawful Property Damage in Virginia
Code of Virginia Section 18.2-137 furnishes the rules against and penalties for unlawful property damage. Under this section, it is unlawful to:
- Destroy, deface, damage, or remove someone else’s real or personal property; or
- Break down, destroy, deface, damage, or remove any monument or memorial.
If a person commits property damage without demonstrating knowledge or intention, it is a Class 3 misdemeanor in Virginia. Upon conviction for this charge, the penalties can include a maximum of 12 months in jail and $2,500 in criminal fines.
That being said, the Virginia courts have discretion to dismiss an unlawful property damage charge. For this to occur, Section 18.2-137 requires a written affidavit stating that the alleged defendant submitted full payment for the property damage in question.
Intentional Property Damage in Virginia
Section 18.2-137 also details the Virginia laws against and penalties for the misdemeanor version of intentional property damage. When a person commits property damage with knowledge or intention, the applicable charge varies based on the value of the property in question.
If intentional property damage involves a maximum of $1,000 in property value or damage, it is a Class 1 misdemeanor in Virginia. Upon conviction for this charge, the penalties can include a maximum of 12 months in jail and $2,500 in criminal fines.
If intentional property damage involves more than $1,000 in property value or damage, it is a Class 6 felony in Virginia. Upon conviction for this charge, the penalties can include a prison sentence between one and five years as well as criminal fines up to $2,500.
On a related note, the calculation of property value or damage centers on proof of the fair market cost of repair or replacement. And the Virginia courts may order restitution as part of the sentence, requiring the offender to offset the costs of their property damage offense.
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