Criminal Defense Law Center
West Michigan

Destruction of property is a serious crime in Michigan

Destruction of Property

We see people facing destruction of property charges all the time. The main factor in determining if the charge you face will be a misdemeanor or a felony charge is the amount monetary damage was delivered to the property.  If you are arrested for this charge, you need to contact an attorney with the experience and the talent needed to get you the best results possible. In order for you to be charged with this crime, the prosecutor must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. The property that was destroyed or damaged belongs to a person other than the defendant.
  2. The defendant was the person who destroyed or damaged the property.
  3. When the defendant destroyed the property, the defendant had intent to damage or destroy the property and knew there was no excuse or just cause for doing so. 
  4. The prosecution must prove the amount of damage, which is used to determine what the charge is. 

Michigan Destruction Of Property Penalties

Misdemeanor Charges:

  • When the damage done to the property is under $200 dollars, the maximum punishment 93 days in jail.
  • When the damage is between $200 and $1,000, the maximum punishment is up to one year in jail. This charge is also a misdemeanor. 

Felony Charges:

  • When the damage amount is over $1,000 but less than $20,000, the defendant will be charged with a felony. This felony charge carries with it a maximum of  five years in prison.
  • If the damage done to the property was over $20,000, a person will be charged with a felony that carries with it a maximum of ten years in prison!  You can also get charged with this ten year felony if you have two more MDOP convictions. 

The prosecution can take all the incidents of destruction of property within a 12 month period of time, if the same defendant was part of all these crimes, and add up the total damage to property in order to figure out the type of MDOP charge the defendant will be facing. This means that if the defendant did over $20,000 dollars of damage in six different instances over a 12 month period of time, the maximum penalty will be ten years in prison.  

The test for value that will be used is “fair market value.” MDOP is also a specific intent crime. This means that if the property wasn’t purposely destroyed, a crime was not committed. You can not be charged with MDOP. The prosecution can not prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt unless they show specific intent.    

Most MDOP charges that we have handled have been successfully negotiated down to a lesser charge.  We also know that when full restitution is made to the victim in a MDOP case, many times a felony charge will be dropped to a misdemeanor charge!


Anyone who has been found guilty of a crime under Michigan law, can be ordered by the judge to make restitution to a victim of the criminal offense.  When the judges orders an amount of restitution, that amount will entail the defendant paying for all out of pocket losses related to the crime. If the victim suffers medical bills, you will have to pay them. If there is property damage, you will have to pay for the damages. 

A civil lawsuit can also be filed at a later time. Civil damages can include losses not included in criminal restitution such as pain and suffering. If a person wants to avoid getting hammered by both criminal and civil damages, a mutual release agreement must be entered into. 

Isolated Incident:

In the a lot of cases we see, a person who is facing destruction of property charges has typically lived a life that suggests they are a non-violent person. In the criminal justice system, we call this an “isolated incident.” These incidents are not likely to happen again. If the court agrees that this behavior is an isolated incident, the vast majority of courts treat those being sentenced fairly and with leniency. Do not take this advice as meaning you should face these charges by yourself or with a court appointed attorney. The Criminal Defense Law Center will get you the best results possible at a competitive price. 

Youthful Offenders

If you are a person under the age of 24 in Michigan, we will work our magic on the prosecutor handling your case to get a diversion program for you.  A program like HYTA will allow a person under 24 to keep a criminal conviction off their record if they can successfully complete probation. 


It is extremely rare to have a juvenile charged as an adult when it comes to MDOP cases. The vast majority of these cases will be handled in Juvenile Court. These courts allow young people the chance to keep a conviction of their record if they stay out of trouble and follow the steps ordered by the court. A young person may have to write a letter of apology to the victim, get counseling as ordered. There may be various other classes that will have to be taken. 

Choosing A Destruction Of Property Attorney

If you are facing MDOP charges you need to hire the right attorney to help you get the best results possible. Do not face these charges alone! A conviction of MDOP could cause you to lose your job and other employment opportunities. It could label you a felon!  You want to hire an attorney that has the experience and a proven track record of getting great results. Feel free to view our reviews on AVVO and on our Google My Business Page. Our results speak for themselves. Shawn and his attorneys have handled thousands of cases and know the local courts and prosecutors inside and out!

Do not wait to talk to Shawn today at 616-438-6719. The sooner you talk to Shawn, the sooner he can put your mind at ease about your situation. Shawn will be happy to give you a free case strategy session. During this call, Shawn will guide you through the process and put your mind at ease.  The call is absolutely free and so is the case strategy session. Call Shawn now!

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