Property crime is a vast area of law that includes a variety of offenses relating to and regarding private property. This means if the crime involves property belonging to another individual, the crime may be classified as a property crime. Property crimes are not limited to houses or businesses, and may even include property such as motor vehicles. It can also include varying degrees of damage occurring to a property, such as arson or vandalism.

Property crimes involve:

  • Burglary
  • Larceny
  • Motor vehicle theft
  • Trespassing
  • Arson
  • Vandalism

Each property crime is different and needs to be handled accordingly. A burglary or motor vehicle theft cannot be handled the same way as a vandalism or trespassing case. Additionally, each type of crime can involve a variety of degrees. It’s important to know the differences in charges, and for your attorney to accurately represent you based on your involvement in the charges. 

Commonly noted charges are:

Arson

Arson in New Hampshire is divided into degrees which can include heavier punishments for more intense offenses, and because of this could lead to a misdemeanor or felony. An arson charge is the byproduct of fire or an explosion allegedly set by the client that involves damage to another person’s property. An arson charge can be caused by something as innocuous as lighting off fireworks in celebration, which then lands debris in someone’s yard, igniting a fire that damages their property. Arson can also be much more intense, up to and including planned and willful destruction of someone else’s property. Arson conviction is punishable up to 15 years in prison in New Hampshire depending on how the allegation is charged. 

Trespassing or Criminal Trespass

A trespassing charge involves being present on a property in which a person is not allowed to be present on. Trespassing charges can be brought against individuals who have overstayed their welcome; if you have been told to leave a property that you were once welcome on, for example, and you do not comply, you are then trespassing, and may be charged as such. A trespassing offense can cause you monetary fees and can be classified as a misdemeanor or felony. 

Vandalism or Criminal Mischief

You may be familiar with vandalism, thought of through the idea of defacement. Any change or difference to a property that is not yours, and you do not have permission to modify, can be construed as vandalism. A cute carving into a tree of you and your lover’s initials could be construed as vandalism — if you are not the owner of the tree. Similarly, even well-known “street artists” like Banksy are committing vandalism with impromptu graffiti paintings on random property — no matter how good the art may be, it is still vandalism. Vandalism also includes unskilled and hateful defacement of property. A vandalism or criminal mischief charge can become a felony offense if the value of the property damaged is over $1,500.

If you’ve been involved in a property crime of any kind in New Hampshire, you deserve fair representation. Bernstein & Mello PLLC is here to help. We offer representation for individuals with property crime charges, and more. Contact us today to tell us about your case and see if we can help.

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