Vandalism & Malicious Mischief in Oklahoma – Laws & Punishments

vandalism malicious mischief defense attorney oklahomaIn addition to the generic vandalism/malicious mischief charge, Oklahoma has many other vandalism statutes that address specific pieces of property or situations. These are: Maliciously Destroying Railroad or Railroad Equipment, Injuries to Public Highways or Bridges, Maliciously Cutting or Destroying Fruit or Ornamental Trees & Shrubs, Maliciously Removing or Defacing Landmarks, Injuring or Destroying Art, Ornamental Improvements, & Trees, Tearing or Destroying Literature or Art, Defacing or Injuring House of Worship, Dumping Trash on Public or Private Property Without Consent or in Violation of Regulations, Littering From Vehicle – Flaming and Glowing Substances, & Defacing or Destroying Written Instruments.

Vandalism in Oklahoma – Maliciously Defacing Property of Another

This is the most commonly used “vandalism” charge. It’s also referred to as “malicious mischief.” It’s illegal to maliciously injure, deface, or destroy any real or personal property not his or her own. There are other more specific vandalism laws in Oklahoma. If something fits one of the more specific laws, then the more specific law should be used. This one is used as a generic, catch-all, vandalism charge when the other, more specific ones (listed below) can’t be used.

Punishment

This crime is a misdemeanor if the defacement, or destruction causes a loss that has an aggregate value of less than $1,000. The maximum punishment in jail is one year. The maximum fine is $500.

It’s felony, if the damage, defacement, or destruction causes a loss that has an aggregate value of $1,000 or more. It’s also a felony, if the defendant has two or more prior convictions for an offense under this law–regardless of the value of loss caused by the damage, defacement, or destruction. The maximum punishment in the Department of Corrections is two years. The maximum fine is $1,000.

Civil Damages

In addition to the criminal punishment above, you’re liable in treble damages for the injury done, to be recovered in a civil action by the owner of the property or public officer having charge of the property.

Charged with vandalism in Oklahoma? Get a free case consultation.

Sources: 21 O.S. § 1760, 10, & 9

Maliciously Destroying Railroad or Railroad Equipment

It’s illegal to maliciously, wantonly, or negligently:

  1. Remove, displace, injure, or destroy any part of any railroad, or railroad equipment, whether for steam or horse cars, or any track of any railroad, or of any branch or branchway, switch, turnout, bridge, viaduct, culvert, embankment, station house, or other structure or fixture, or any part thereof, attached to or connected with any railroad; or,
  2. Place any obstruction upon the rails or tracks of any railroad, or any branch, branchway, or turnout connected with any railroad,

This crime is a felony. The maximum punishment in the Department of Corrections is four years. The maximum punishment in the county jail is six months.

The range of punishment increases if there’s a death. The minimum punishment in the Department of Corrections is four years.

Charged with Maliciously Destroying Railroad or Railroad Equipment in Oklahoma? Get a free case consultation.

Sources: 21 O.S. § 1751 & 1752

Injuries to Public Highways or Bridges

It’s illegal to maliciously digs up, remove, displace, break, or otherwise injure or destroy any public highway or bridge, or any private way laid out by authority of law, or bridge upon such way.

This crime is a felony. The maximum punishment in the Department of Corrections is two years. The maximum fine is $1,000.

Charged with Injuring a Public Highway or Bridge in Oklahoma? Get a free case consultation.

Sources: 21 O.S. § 1753 & 9

Maliciously Cutting or Destroying Fruit or Ornamental Trees & Shrubs

It’s illegal to maliciously or mischievously, bruise, break or pull up, cut down, carry away, destroy, or in anywise injure any fruit or ornamental tree, shrub, vine or material for hedge, being, growing, or standing on the land of another.

This crime is a misdemeanor. The range of fine is $10-$30. The maximum punishment in jail is 30 days.

Charged with Maliciously Cutting or Destroying Fruit or Ornamental Trees & Shrubs in Oklahoma? Get a free case consultation.

Sources: 21 O.S. § 1773

Maliciously Removing or Defacing Landmarks

It’s illegal to:

  1. Maliciously remove any monuments of stone, wood, or other material, erected for the purpose of designating any point in the boundary of any lot or tract of land; or,
  2. Maliciously deface or alter the marks upon any tree, post or other monument, made for the purpose of designating any point, course, or line in any such boundary; or,
  3. Maliciously cut down or remove any tree upon which any such marks have been made for such purpose, with intent to destroy such marks

This crime is a misdemeanor. The maximum punishment in jail is one year. The maximum fine is $500.

Charged with Maliciously Removing or Defacing Landmarks in Oklahoma? Get a free case consultation.

Sources: 21 O.S. § 1774 & 10

Injuring or Destroying Art, Ornamental Improvements, & Trees

It’s illegal to (if you’re not the owner) willfully injure, disfigure, or destroy any monument work of art, or useful or ornamental improvement, within the limits of any town or city, or any shade tree or ornamental plant, growing therein, whether situated upon private ground, or on any street, sidewalk, or public park or place.

This crime is a misdemeanor. The maximum punishment in jail is one year. The maximum fine is $500.

Charged with Injuring or Destroying Art, Ornamental Improvements, & Trees in Oklahoma? Get a free case consultation.

Sources: 21 O.S. § 1784 & 10

Tearing or Destroying Literature or Art

It’s illegal to maliciously:

  • cut,
  • tear,
  • disfigure,
  • soil,
  • obliterate,
  • break, or destroy

any: book,

  • map,
  • chart,
  • picture,
  • engraving,
  • statue,
  • coin,
  • model,
  • apparatus,
  • specimen, or
  • other work of literature or art, or object of curiosity deposited in any
    • public library,
    • gallery,
    • museum,
    • collection,
    • fair or
    • exhibition.

Ths crime is a felony. The maximum punishment in the Department of Corrections is three years. The maximum punishment in jail is one year.

Charged with Tearing or Destroying Literature or Art in Oklahoma? Get a free case consultation.

Source: 21 O.S. § 1785

Defacing or Injuring House of Worship

It’s illegal to willfully break, deface, or otherwise injure any

  • house of worship, or any part thereof, or any appurtenance thereto, or any
    • book,
    • furniture,
    • ornament,
    • musical instrument,
    • article of silver or plated ware,
    • or other chattel kept

for use in connection with religious worship.

This crime is a felony. The maximum punishment in the Department of Corrections is two years. The maximum fine is $1,000.

Charged with Defacing or Injuring a House of Worship in Oklahoma? Get a free case consultation.

Sources: 21 O.S. § 1765 & 9

Dumping Trash on Public or Private Property Without Consent or in Violation of Regulations

It’s illegal to deliberately

  • place,
  • throw,
  • drop,
  • dump,
  • deposit, or discard

any:

  • garbage,
  • trash,
  • waste,
  • rubbish,
  • refuse,
  • debris, or other deleterious substance

on any public property, on any private property of another without consent of the property owner, or on his or her own private property in violation of any county or state zoning or public health regulations

This crime is a misdemeanor. The range of fine is $500-$5000. The maximum punishment in jail is 30 days. A law enforcement officer can also write you a state traffic citation for this offense.

Restitution

The court must order the person to make restitution to the property owner affected; to remove and properly dispose of the garbage, trash, waste, rubbish, refuse, or debris from the property; to pick up, remove, and properly dispose of garbage, trash, waste, rubbish, refuse, debris, and other nonhazardous deleterious substances from public property; or perform community service or any combination of the foregoing that the court, in its discretion, deems appropriate. The dates, times, and locations of such activities will be scheduled by the sheriff pursuant to the order of the court in such a manner as not to interfere with the employment or family responsibilities of the person.

The court may order the defendant to pay into the reward fund up to $2,000.

Flaming or Glowing Substance

The punishment increases if you violate this law through use of a flaming or glowing substance, or any substance that may cause a fire. The range of fine is $2,000-$5,000. The maximum punishment in jail is 60 days.

Any person violating this law is liable for all damages caused by the violation.

Burn Ban

During a burn ban declared by the Governor, the punishment increases for any person convicted of violating this law with any flaming or glowing substances, or any substance that may cause a fire.The range of fine is $4,000-$10,000. The maximum punishment in jail is 120 days. Any person violating this law is liable for all damages caused by the violation.

Furniture or Heavy Item

The punishment increases for any person convicted of violating this law with any item of furniture, or item that exceeds 50 pounds. The range of fine is $1,000-$6,500. The maximum punishment in jail is 60 days.

Multiple Items

The discovery of two or more items that have been dropped, dumped, deposited, discarded, placed, or thrown at one location and that bear a common address in a form that tends to identify the latest owner of the items creates a rebuttable presumption that any competent person residing at that address committed the unlawful act. The discovery or use of such evidence won’t be sufficient to qualify for the reward.

Charged with Dumping Trash in Oklahoma? Get a free case consultation.

Source: 21 O.S. § 1761.1

Litter From Vehicle – Flaming and Glowing Substances

It’s illegal to throw, drop, deposit, or otherwise place any litter from a vehicle upon highways, roads, or public property. The operator of the vehicle will be liable unless another person in the vehicle admits to doing it or is identified as having done it.

This crime is a misdemeanor and can be considered a “state traffic offense.” The maximum fine is $1,000. You’ll have to do 5-20 hours of community service in a litter abatement work program. Or, you can be prosecuted under the above trash dumping statute.

Flaming or Glowing Substance

The punishment increases if committed with any flaming or glowing substances (except those that by law may be placed upon highway rights-of-way), or any substance that may cause a fire.

This crime is a misdemeanor and can be considered a “state traffic offense.” The maximum fine is $2,000. You’ll have to do 10-40 hours of community service in a litter abatement work program. Or, you can be prosecuted under the above trash dumping statute.

Burn Ban

The punishment increases if committed during a declared burn ban by the Governor and with any flaming or glowing substances (except those which by law may be placed upon highway rights-of-way) or any substance that may cause a fire.

This crime is a misdemeanor and can be considered a “state traffic offense.” The maximum fine is $4,000. You’ll have to do 20-80 hours of community service in a litter abatement work program. Or, you can be prosecuted under the above trash dumping statute.

“Litter” means any flaming or glowing substances (except those which by law may be placed upon highway rights-of-way), any substance that may cause a fire, any bottles, cans, trash, garbage, or debris of any kind. Litter doesn’t include trash, garbage, or debris placed beside a public road for collection by a garbage or collection agency, or deposited upon or within public property designated by Oklahoma or by any of its agencies or political subdivisions as an appropriate place for such deposits if the person making the deposit is authorized to use the property for such purpose.

Charged with Littering in Oklahoma? Get a free case consultation.

Source: 21 O.S. § 1753.3

Defacing or Destroying Written Instruments

It’s illegal to maliciously mutilate, tear, deface, obliterate, or destroy any written instrument that belongs to someone else, the false making of which would be forgery. It’s punished in the same manner as the forgery of such instrument is made punishable.

Charged with Defacing or Destroying a Written Instrument in Oklahoma? Get a free case consultation.

Source: 21 O.S. § 1779

Current as of April 7, 2020. Note: laws are subject to change at any time! Visit the linked statutes for the most current law.

Arrested for vandalism in Oklahoma? Call Oklahoma criminal defense attorney Frank Urbanic in OKC for a free consultation.
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