Public crimes

Criminal Mischief

Not to be confused with Malicious Mischief, Criminal Mischief was previously defined as “Riot” under Washington law. Effective January 1, 2014, the statute was amended to “Criminal Mischief” but the prohibited activities remain unchanged.

In General


Criminal Mischief is the knowing and unlawful use, or threatened use, of force, or participating in the use of force, against any other person or against property. Criminal Mischief requires at least three or more other participants, for a minimum total of four persons involved.

If a person is alleged to have used unlawful force against another, that person may be charged with both Assault and Criminal Mischief.

Lawful use of force, such as self-defense and defense of others, is not prohibited.

Punishment Distinction


In general, Criminal Mischief is a Gross Misdemeanor, punishable by up to 364 days in jail and/or a $5000 fine. There is no minimum sentence.

However, if the person charged is armed with a deadly weapon, that person may be charged with a Class C Felony.

“Deadly Weapon” means any explosive or loaded or unloaded firearm, and shall include any other weapon, device, instrument, article or substance, including a "vehicle" as defined in this section, which, under the circumstances in which it is used, attempted to be used or threatened to be used, is readily capable of causing death or substantial bodily harm.

Ashbach Law Offices, LLC, aggressively represents clients throughout the Washington I-5 corridor, covering Skagit, Snohomish, King and Whatcom Counties. Regular courts of practice include, but are not limited to, Anacortes, Arlington, Bellevue, Bellingham, Blaine, Burlington, Edmonds, Everett, Issaquah, Lynnwood, Marysville, Monroe, Mount Vernon, Mountlake Terrance, Redmond, Seattle, Sedro Woolley and Shoreline.