Can I be charged with destruction of property?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can I be charged with destruction of property?

I’m 16, and this happened after school at my local high school. I
forgot I had riveted jeans on and I sat on a friend’s car hood. He
said get off, so I did, but I accidentally left a bunch of small
scratches. Now I hear his mom wants to charge me with destruction of
property. Can she do that? And am I allowed to contact her to try to
avoid it if she can?

Asked on April 23, 2016 under Accident Law, Minnesota


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

d on what you write, you did not commit a crime and should be not be charged (or if charged, would not be convicted): a crime requires a criminal intent (or "mens rea") such as an intent to damage another's property. Simple carelessness is not criminal. 
However, simple carelessness does make you liable, or financially responsible for, ALL damage you did through the carelessness; you could be sued by her for the full cost to repair/repaint the car and if she did, she'd almost certainly win. Therefore, if she won't accept your offer of half the cost, you should probably simply agree to pay the full cost. The law will not make her pay half the cost when she did nothing wrong and you caused the damage.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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