Criminal Law

Criminal Damage

Our specialist criminal solicitors will offer you all the legal advice and support you need.

Are you under investigation or have you been charged with criminal damage? We can help.

Lucinda Dore Criminal Solicitors have more than 20-years’ experience representing clients in the Magistrates’ court and the Crown Court on a premium private basis. We can help anybody under investigation or charged with intentionally or recklessly damaging property.
We do not provide legal aid representation which allows us to focus on providing attentive, specialist private criminal solicitor or barrister representation for clients that need expert legal advice, but we offer clear affordable competitive fixed fees according to your own personal circumstances at the outset of your case, so you not have any unexpected legal costs.

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The Law. 

Destroying or damaging property.
Section 1(1) of the Criminal Damage Act 1971 creates an offence of destroying or damaging any property belonging to another person, whether intentionally or recklessly, without lawful excuse.
The law also stipulates that whether the property belongs to the person or to another, intending to destroy or damage any property or being reckless as to whether any property would be destroyed or damage; and intending by the destruction or damage to endanger the life of another or being recklessly as to whether the life of another would be thereby endangered, commits an offence.

Threats to destroy or damage property.
Destruction or damage does not have to exist to be considered an offence. A person who without lawful excuse makes to another a threat to destroy or damage any property belonging to other or a third party, or to destroy or damage his/her own property in a way which he knows is likely to endanger the life of the other or third person shall be guilty of an offence.

Possessing anything with intent to destroy or damage property.
A person who has anything in his custody or under his control intending without lawful excuse to use it or cause or permit another to use it—

(a)to destroy or damage any property belonging to some other person; or
(b)to destroy or damage his own or the user’s property in a way which he knows is likely to endanger the life of some other person;
shall be guilty of an offence.

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Criminal Law

Criminal Damage Specialist Criminal Solicitors based in West Sussex and London, serving clients throughout the UK

Our expert solicitors know your questions. We have the answers. We can help you.

Frequently asked questions

  • What is the penalty for criminal damage?

    A person guilty of an offence under Criminal Damage Act 1971, shall on conviction on indictment be liable to imprisonment for a term up not exceeding ten years.
    Simple criminal damage is triable either way. This means that they may be brought to the Magistrate's Court or the Crown Court. If the value of the damage is £5000 or less, the offence will be treated as if it were triable only summarily. Section 22 of the Magistrates’ Courts Act 1980 requires the case to be tried summarily in the magistrates’ court where the maximum sentence available is 3 months’ imprisonment and/or a fine of up to £2,500.
    Where the value of the damage is over £5,000 criminal damage is typically tried summarily, unless it appears to the court that one of the following aggravating features are present:
    • Deliberate fire-raising. • The offence was committed by a group• The damage is of high value, or• The offence has clear racial motivation, and the court's sentencing powers are insufficient.
    Where the damage is caused by fire or the racially aggravated form of the offence is charged, then even if the value of the damage is less than £5,000 it will be triable either way. Equally, where the defendant charged with two or more offences which form part of a series of two or more offences of the same or similar character, (and the total value exceeds £5,000) the offence would be triable either way.
    Any offence committed under section 1 of the Criminal Damage Act 1971 that destroy or damage a property by fire will be charged as arson. A person guilty of arson under section 1 above or of an offence under section 1(2) above (whether arson or not) shall on conviction on indictment be liable to imprisonment for life.

  • Does it matter that the damage made was not permanent?

    The damage does not have to be permanent. There have been cases where graffiti, water-soluble plaints on a pavement, flooding a police cell or squashing a policeman’s helmet have all ben held to be damage. The court will decide if the damage is a matter of fact and to what degree. If action, expense or inconvenience is involved in putting the matter right, then damage will have been caused, for example creating “crop circles” in a wheat field.

  • I was drinking when I committed the offence, can I claim I was drunk?

    Claiming excess of alcohol will not afford you a defence nor mitigation for the offence.

How can we help you?

If found guilty of criminal damage you can be sentenced to imprisonment, so we recommend you seek legal advice as soon as possible.
1. In appropriate cases where early advice is sought, an early admission, apology and offer of compensation in low value cases can sometimes be enough to avoid a criminal prosecution for a person of previous good character. We will work hard to have your case steer away from the criminal justice system.
2. If you have been asked to attend an interview under caution at the police station we will be able to attend the police station with you – we may be able to provide robust early representation to avoid the matter proceeding further to court.
3. If you have been charged with an offence and are due to attend court, we can book you in for a consultation with one of our specialist solicitors as soon as possible (most clients request a virtual consultation to work around their working commitments which we can always offer).

Once you have booked in with us, we will start work on your case right away. We will request the prosecution evidence from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), if this is provided before your consultation we will be able to go through all this with you, we will be able to assess the evidence against you and advise whether it is in your best interests to plead Guilty or Not Guilty but even if the evidence is yet available we can take your full instructions, advise you on the relevant law and procedure and prepare you for your court hearing.

4. If you do not accept the offence you are charged with, we can help you challenge the offence. For example, we can make a case for lawful excuse if you believe you had consent to cause the damage or would have had consent or that you were protecting your own property or that belonging to someone else. We will help you to enter a Not Guilty Plea to the criminal damage matter and represent you at trial (either one or our solicitors will represent you or we will instruct a barrister according to your personal budget - We offer bespoke criminal legal advice and representation, tailored to your own personal needs)

5. If the evidence against you is strong, or you wish to plead guilty for a mistake made, we have a particularly outstanding reputation for providing expert court mitigation to get the best outcome at court for you.

Contact one of our specialist criminal damage solicitors today for advice, Lucinda Dore can often fit clients in for a virtual consultation at short notice as we know that you will need urgent advice. We have a service available for all budgets so contact us today for a free no obligation discussion about how we can help you.