Property crimes

Malicious Mischief

The lawyers at Ashbach Law Offices, LLC provide aggressive, strong defense for those charged with Malicious Mischief throughout Skagit, Snohomish, King and Whatcom Counties. Our goal is to aggressively protect you, your family and your interests from the prosecution, saving jail time, licenses, occupations and reputations. With offices in Marysville and Mill Creek, Washington, we are available to meet you discuss your case. We help good people in bad situations. Let us help you.

In General


There are three Degrees of Malicious Mischief in Washington State: First Degree Malicious Mischief is a Class B Felony, Second Degree Malicious Mischief is a Class C Felony and Third Degree Malicious Mischief is a gross misdemeanor. Like assault or harassment charges, Malicious Mischief allegations often are assigned a “domestic violence” tag if the alleged victim meets the criteria for “family or household member.”

Each degree requires the person being charged to have acted in a “knowing and malicious manner” in an attempt to achieve some result made illegal by the legislature. In general, the distinction between the degrees is based upon the dollar amount. At one time, Third Degree Malicious Mischief was split into two levels, gross misdemeanor and simple misdemeanor, based on the dollar amount, but that difference was recently eradicated.

The most commonly-charged allegation for malicious mischief is causing physical damage to the property of another. Washington courts have held that “property of another” includes property that is co-owned. This means that if one spouse damages the property that is owned as community property with the other spouse (or under domestic partnership laws), the party causing the damage is still subject to the Malicious Mischief laws. Under this scenario, a Compromise of Misdemeanor would not be available.

First Degree Malicious Mischief


First Degree Malicious Mischief usually involves the allegation that a person knowingly and maliciously caused physical damage to the property of another in an amount exceeding $5000. However, it may also be charged based upon an allegation of:

a) causing an interruption or impairment of service rendered to the public by physically damaging or tampering with an emergency vehicle or property of the state, a political subdivision thereof or a public utility or mode of public transportation, power or communication, or

b) causing an impairment of the safety, efficiency or operation of an aircraft by physically damaging or tampering with the aircraft or aircraft equipment, fuel, lubricant or parts

Second Degree Malicious Mischief


Second Degree Malicious Mischief usually involves the allegation that a person knowingly and maliciously caused physical damage to the property of another in an amount equal to or greater than $750. However, it may also be charged based upon an allegation of creating a substantial risk of interruption or impairment of service rendered to the public, by physically damaging or tampering with an emergency vehicle or property of the state, a political subdivision thereof or a public utility or mode of public transportation, power or communication.

Third Degree Malicious Mischief


Third Degree Malicious Mischief is simply an allegation of knowingly and maliciously causing physical damage to the property of another, with no monetary implications. Rarely seen is the allegation that the person charged has written, painted or drawn any inscription, figure or mark of any type on any public or private building or other structure or any real or personal property owned by any other person unless the person had obtained the express permission of the owner or operator of the property, under circumstances not amounting to malicious mischief in the first or second degree.

Ashbach Law Offices, LLC, aggressively represents clients charged with Malicious Mischief 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.