Damaging another person's property is considered vandalism. The extent of the damage is the determining factor in how the charge is graded, but all vandalism convictions are felonies. As a base charge, you'll face a fifth degree felony and up to a year in jail, plus fines. When the value of the property or the damage you caused is $7,500 or more, you'll be charged with a fourth degree felony and face up to 18 months. When the property or damage are worth $150,000 or more, you'll face a third degree felony count and up to five years if convicted.
Vehicular vandalism is a charge that doesn't get a lot of sympathy for the accused. Almost everyone drives and can relate to the fear and danger of a sudden impediment in their way. Dropping objects onto a roadway or into the path of a vehicle, or throwing objects at cars, trains, boats, or other vehicles is against the law in Ohio.
Cleveland prosecutors can charge you with vehicular vandalism at several grades, depending on the risks and injuries caused to another. As a base charge, you'll face a first degree misdemeanor and a possible six months. If there is a risk of injury to others, or property is damaged, the charge becomes a fourth degree felony, with an 18 month sentence possible if you're convicted. If the conduct causes injuries, you will be charged with a third degree felony and face up to five years in prison if convicted. If another person is seriously injured, you will be charged with a second degree felony, which can put you in prison for up to eight years.
The statute O.R.C. 2909.10 covers several types of conduct. The base charge for activities like throwing objects at trains, climbing onto locomotives without permission, or delaying the operation of a locomotive is a first degree misdemeanor, with a sentence of up to 180 days if you are convicted. If that conduct causes physical harm to property or the substantial risk of harm to people, you will be charged with a fourth degree felony and can be sentenced to as long as 18 months if convicted. If a person is physically harmed by the conduct in question, the charge will be a third degree felony with a sentence of up to five years. If the injuries are serious, you will face a second degree felony charge and can be imprisoned for as long as eight years.
Ensuring that railroad crossings are well marked and that equipment like bells, lights, and gates are in working order is important for public safety. For that reason, prosecutors in Cleveland can charge people who damage or tamper with those devices with railroad grade crossing device vandalism. As a base charge, it is a first degree misdemeanor with a sentence of up to 6 months. Where property is damaged or there is a substantial risk of harm to people, the charge becomes a fourth degree felony, with 6 to 18 months possible. If a person is injured by railroad grade crossing device vandalism, you'll face a third degree felony charge and a sentence of up to 5 years. If a person is seriously injured, you'll be charged with a second degree felony and face up to 8 years.
Your best chance at avoiding significant penalties are to work with experienced attorneys who know how to attack the evidence against you and get the best outcome possible. If you need help, call Patituce & Associates today at (440) 709-8088 for a free consultation.