What to do about a criminal mischief charge, ifI simply damaged property by accident?

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What to do about a criminal mischief charge, ifI simply damaged property by accident?

I came out of a night club after a few too many drinks and I accidentally tipped over a motorcycle. The motorcycle was parked on the sidewalk about 3 ft from the front door (not in a parking spot). It was a complete accident, but I was going to sit on it and it fell over. I even tried to catch it. The bouncer that owned the bike called the cops. No real damage had been done but I received a ticket with a court date and it says “criminal mischief” under the charge, a misdemeanor. I did not maliciously knock over the bike like the bouncer contested. I am not sure what I should do. I have a clean record.

Asked on August 11, 2011 Florida

Answers:

David Novack / Jaeger & Blankner

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Criminal mischief requires an intent to cause the reported damage.  An accident will not be enough to convict you.  However, you have the added element of alcohol consumption involved so the line gets blurred a bit.  Voluntary intoxication is no defense.  It will be up to your attorney to file the necessary motion to ask the court to dismiss the charge assuming the facts are not in dispute.  If both sides agree it was in fact an accident the case should be dismissed.  However, if there is an allegation that is was done with intent then the court will not dismiss the charge and your next option will be plea bargaining or calling for a jury trial for an acquittal. 


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