What is Mischief?
Mischief is a property crime which is set out in section 430(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada.
“Every one commits mischief who wilfully:
a) destroys or damages property;
b) renders property dangerous, useless, inoperative or ineffective;
c) obstructs, interrupts or interferes with the lawful use, enjoyment or operation of property; or
d) obstructs, interrupts or interferes with any person in the lawful use, enjoyment or operation of property.”
Mischief is broken down into 2 separate offences – Mischief Under $5,000 and Mischief Over $5,000. The charge will be according to the value of the damaged property.
Potential Defences to Mischief
There are defences that can be raised against Mischief allegations, including:
- the defence of Colour of Right (see s. 429(2)) of the Code);
- arguing that the act that led to the damage was not willful;
- establishing ownership of the the damaged property; etc
Potential Outcomes to Mischief Charges
If it’s your first time facing a property crime allegation, jail is an unlikely outcome. Depending on the value of the property, the Crown Attorney may agree to “divert” your matter (ie, withdraw or stay the charges) if restitution is paid back. For more serious cases, where there are aggravating features to the offence (such as repetitive behaviour over a longer time span), the risk of a criminal record goes up. Before pleading guilty to a Mischief Charge, ensure that you have obtained thorough legal advice so that you are aware of what your options are, and whether there is any potential way to get the Crown to withdraw your charges, avoiding a guilty plea.
To learn more about defending Mischief allegations, call (647) 878-6355 to speak to Andrew Captan – Criminal Lawyer.