Criminal mischief (Utah Code 76-6-106) is a very broad categorization of crime, anything from types of juvenile crimes to very serious types of violent crimes. Typically, criminal mischief involves some sort of vandalism or intentional destruction or damage to the property of another during an argument or dispute. It can also include interfering with public utilities or communication systems (like a cell phone). Depending on the extent of the damage or the type of activity, criminal mischief charges can range from a Class B misdemeanor all the way up to a second-degree felony.
Utah laws are set up so that almost any crime can be classified as domestic violence.
Crimes such as trespassing, assault, criminal mischief (destruction of property), disorderly conduct, etc. can all be classified as domestic violence if they involve “cohabitants” (family or someone living with you) or former cohabitants. This means that if you commit any crime, and that crime was committed against anyone you live with, have lived with, or have a blood relation to, then you can be charged with domestic violence against that person.
In the case of domestic violence criminal trespass, if you are a former cohabitant or blood relative of the person who owns or lives at the trespassed property, then you can be charged.
Utah trespassing laws define criminal trespass in several ways. The law states that a person is guilty of trespass if he enters or remains on someone’s property, intending to cause annoyance or injury or intending to commit a crime, or being reckless as to whether his presence will cause someone else to fear for their safety. A person may also be charged if he knows his entry onto property is unlawful and notice against entering is given by fencing designed to exclude intruders, or by signs that are reasonably likely to come to the attention of intruders.
Domestic violence criminal trespass is usually classified as a Class A or B misdemeanor. If the trespassing occurred within a person’s dwelling, it is classified as a Class A misdemeanor. If it occurred on property that is not a dwelling, it is classified as a Class B misdemeanor. The penalties can range widely and depend on several factors, including a person’s criminal history, the severity of the conduct, mitigating or aggravating factors.
The word mischief itself sounds juvenile and trivial — so many people wrongly believe charges of criminal mischief are similarly trivial. When it comes to criminal mischief Utah law doesn’t consider it trivial. In truth, the state considers such charges very seriously and may even classify them a felony based on the type of activity or extent of the damage.