Each state has criminal laws that prohibit intentionally damaging another person's property. In North Carolina, this act is a serious offense that is punished relatively harshly in most cases. Many defendants that are found guilty of this crime were involved in domestic or civil legal matters before acquiring criminal charges. This means that a defendant could be required to provide compensation to a plaintiff in court and be subjected to legal repercussions carried out by the criminal justice system. The severity of the penalty, however, depends on the type of property damage that was inflicted. Property damage is divided into two categories in the state of North Carolina: injury to real property and injury to personal property.
Injury to Real Property
According to North Carolina statutes, injury to real property is constituted when a person willfully and wantonly damages, injures or destroys the real property of another.
A variety of things can be deemed “real property,” as it is defined as land or anything fixated or attached to it. Buildings, fences, gates, and the land itself are a few examples of things that a person could be convicted for damaging.
An injury to a real property charge is classified as a class 1 misdemeanor, which is punishable by a maximum 12-day jail sentence and a discretionary fine.
Injury to Personal Property
Injury to personal property is committed when a person wantonly and willfully injures the personal property of another.
Personal property is defined as all property that is not real property. Since real property refers to things that are fixated or attached to the land, personal property is defined as property owned by another person that is not attached to the land. Phones, cars, art and furniture are a few examples of what would legally be regarded as personal property.
Unlike real property damage, injury to personal property has two potential penalties. These consequences are solely based on the value of the property that was damaged.
If the value of the property that was damaged was less than $200, a defendant will be charged with a class 2 misdemeanor. Upon conviction, a defendant can expect to pay a $1,000 fine and spend up to 60 days in a county jail.
If the property value was more than $200, this offense is elevated to a class 1 misdemeanor.
North Carolina Defense Attorneys
As you can see, injury to property damage criminal charges are not to be taken lightly in North Carolina. A moment of passion that caused you to damage another person's property could potentially cost you a lot of money, time and more importantly, your freedom. However, there are a variety of elements in these specific cases that must be proven for a conviction. Every detail that you share with a skilled attorney may help them reduce your charges or completely dismiss your case. Contact the attorneys at Caulder & Valentine today for a free consultation.