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ARS 13-1602 Criminal Damage Charges, Laws & Defenses

Criminal Damage Charges (Misdemeanor & Felony)

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ARS 13-1602 Criminal Damage Charges, Laws & Effective Defenses

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  1. What are the Arizona Laws for Criminal Damage??
  2. How Criminal Damage Becomes Felony Aggravated Criminal Damage
  3. How are Criminal Damage Charges are Broken Down by Amount
  4. How are Total Costs of Damages Calculated?
  5. What are Penalties for ARS 13-1602 and ARS 13-1602?
  6. Defenses that an Attorney Can Use Against Criminal Damage Charges

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Criminal Damage in Arizona: Learn the Arizona Laws About ARS 13-1602 and ARS 13-1604 

Criminal damage in Arizona is designated under Arizona Revised Statutes ARS 13-1602 Criminal Damages and ARS 13-1604 Felony Aggravated Criminal Damage as when someone has “recklessly” damaged, defaced, or in any way tampered with the property of someone else, including the property of a business or other operation in such a manner that the damage done “substantially” impairs its function or any value that the object had or was worth in a dollar amount. 

Criminal Damage Done to Building Door

In addition to “substantial” damage, criminal damage may also refer to damage that is done when someone defaces or draws on the property of another person or business entity. The combined revised statutes suggest that any drawing, inscribing, “tagging” or painting of any message, slogan, sign, or symbol” on any “public or private building, structure, or surface,”(…) without the permission of the owner” also constitutes criminal damage in the state of Arizona. 

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How Criminal Damage Becomes Aggravated Criminal Damage in Arizona

If any such damage as previously described, including any drawing, painting, or inscription of any slogans or symbols and the like occurs to property in or on a place of worship such as a church, synagogue, hall, or temple, or if that damage has been done to a school or any type of facility where learning occurs, or anywhere such as a mortuary, cemetery, or any other place where the dead are memorialized or buried, the charges change from criminal damage to aggravated criminal damage.

How Criminal Damage Charges Are Broken Down by Dollar Amount Under ARS 13-1602

Subsection ‘B’ of Arizona Revised Statute ARS 13-1602 breaks down the penalties in the following manner:

  • Class 4 felony: Property Damages of more than $10,000 to the property of another person, or criminal damages of $5,000 or more to the property of any utility company, such as that which offers electricity, water, or gas. 
  • Class 5 felony: Property Damages amounting in more than $2,000 but equalling less than $10,000 to the property of another person. 
  • Class 6 felony: Property Damages of more than $1,000 but amounting to less than $2,000 to the property of another person.
  • Class 1 misdemeanor: Property Damages of more than $250 but amounting to less than $1,000 to the property of another person.
  • Class 2 misdemeanor: Property Damages amounting to less than $250, regardless of how low beneath $250 in value.

How Does the State Calculate the Overall Total Cost of the Property Damage Done?

Criminal damages are calculated such that the judge in each case reviews and assigns value based on: 

  • How much it will cost to replace the item(s) damaged, defaced, or otherwise vandalized 
  • How much it will cost to repair the public or private property so that it functions once again in the same manner it did before the criminal damages 
  • What the cost of the labor necessary to repair or replace the damaged property 
  • How much will it cost to obtain the raw materials used to replace and/or repair the public or private property that was damaged 
  • What it will cost to obtain and use the equipment needed to do the actual repairs on the damaged public or private property 
  • The costs associated with any other variables as decided by each judge in each case of criminal or aggravated criminal damages

What are the Penalties for ARS 13-1602 Criminal Damage in Arizona?

The penalties for criminal damage and aggravated criminal damage charges in the state of Arizona can vary quite a bit based on a number of factors, but at the heart of the issue is the dollar value of the private or public property which was damaged or otherwise defaced according to Arizona state law. 

Aside from the monies you will have to pay to repair or replace the public or private property that was damaged, you may also be faced with probation, time in jail, or time in prison, depending upon the offense and the monetary value assigned to the damage done.

Class 4 Felony Criminal Damages

For an aggravated criminal damage offense, when the amount of criminal damage amounts to $10,000 or more in value, the charge will be for a class 4 felony, and if this is a first felony offense, the typical sentence is probation for an amount decided by a judge along with up to one year in jail or anywhere between 1 and 3.75 years in prison

But, if the person with a new charge of property damage does have any prior felony or misdemeanor convictions, the amount of time in prison moves to between 2.25 and 7.5 years in prison

What’s more, if the person with new property damage charges has two prior convictions, prison time changes again, this time amounting to between 6 and 15 years.

Class 5 Felony Criminal Damages

For the class 5 felony associated with felony criminal damages of more than $1,500 but less than $10,000, a first offense punishment may likely be probation with up to 1 year in jail or as much as 6 months to 2.5 years in prison or other custody.

But, if the person with the property damage charge has one prior conviction, s/he may instead have to serve 1 to 3.75 years in prison, and if that person has two prior charges that are misdemeanors or felonies, s/he may instead have to serve 3 to 7.5 years in prison or other incarceration.

Class 6 Felony Criminal Damages

For criminal damages to private or public property that amount to less than $1,500, the charge is a class 6 felony, for which the punishment can be probation as decided by the judge and up to 1 year in jail or anywhere from 4 months to 2 years in prison.

However, if the person with new property damage charges has one prior felony conviction, s/he may have to serve anywhere between 9 months and 2.75 years in prison. And, if the person with the new criminal damage charge has two prior felony convictions, prison time once again changes, this time up to between 2.25 and 5.75 years in prison or other incarceration.

Defenses that an Attorney Can Use Against Criminal Damage Charges

When it comes to charges of Criminal Damage, whether they are Felony or Misdemeanor charges, two strong defenses that your criminal defense attorney will utilize are what’s known as “Lack of Intent” or “Lack of Criminal Recklessness”. How these are proved in court are by demonstrating that the person did not “intentionally” or “recklessly” cause damage to the public or private property of another. 

Car Drove Through Wall - Criminal Damage

Criminal Defense Attorney Can Argue Criminal Damage Not Intentional


A common example would be an auto accident. If a person is involved in a car accident, they most likely would not be charged with criminal damage because it was not an intentional, or “criminally reckless” act. To act in a “criminally reckless” way, the person would have to act in a way that deviates away from the standard conduct that a reasonable person would do the same. In layman’s terms, if a person intentionally and without a reasonable doubt, used their vehicle to cause damage. 

Other effective ways that a defense attorney can get charges of criminal damage dismissed are:

  • Violation of a person’s “Miranda rights”
  • Denial of Right to Counsel – Refusing you to speak with an attorney
  • Challenging a Search Warrant
  • Forensic Inaccuracies during an investigation, i.e. blood, breath, and urine testing; fingerprints analysis; DNA testing; ballistics; gunshot residue testing; etc..
  • Incomplete or falsified police reports which can include everything from false statements, flawed photo line-ups and inaccurate crime scene reconstruction.

This is why it is absolutely crucial that you hire a skilled Criminal Damage lawyer to defend you. One who has knowledge of all the possible defenses to assert in your case. 

An Arizona Criminal Damage Attorney You Can Count On

As you can see from the above listed penalties and fees associated with crimes of damages, criminal damage can be a felony offense, and if you have been charged with criminal damages, you will need the assistance of an experienced and highly qualified criminal damage attorney in Phoenix, Scottsdale, or elsewhere in the state of Arizona, where felony criminal damage charges can range from class 4 to class 6 depending on the value of what was damaged.

As a top-rated phoenix criminal defense lawyer, the Shah Law Firm knows exactly how to handle criminal damage and aggravated criminal damage charges in Arizona — we have aggressively fought and won cases just like yours in the past, and we know exactly how to craft a criminal defense that will get your charges dramatically reduced or altogether dropped. 

Get a Criminal Damage Attorney On Your Side the Best Criminal Damage Defense in AZ

Top Arizona Criminal Defense Attorney Arja ShahCall the Law Firm of Arja Shaw right away for your completely free criminal defense consultation — with the information you give us, we can quickly and carefully begin building your case and prepare you for the next steps you can expect before, during, and after the court proceedings. 

Begin your free legal consultation with the Shah Law Firm today: dial 602-560-7408.

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