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Texas Penal Code - Section 28.03. Criminal Mischief

Legal Research Home > Texas Laws > Penal Code > Texas Penal Code - Section 28.03. Criminal Mischief

§ 28.03. CRIMINAL MISCHIEF. (a) A person commits an offense if, without the effective consent of the owner: (1) he intentionally or knowingly damages or destroys the tangible property of the owner; (2) he intentionally or knowingly tampers with the tangible property of the owner and causes pecuniary loss or substantial inconvenience to the owner or a third person; or (3) he intentionally or knowingly makes markings, including inscriptions, slogans, drawings, or paintings, on the tangible property of the owner. (b) Except as provided by Subsections (f) and (h), an offense under this section is: (1) a Class C misdemeanor if: (A) the amount of pecuniary loss is less than $50; or (B) except as provided in Subdivision (3)(A) or (3)(B), it causes substantial inconvenience to others; (2) a Class B misdemeanor if the amount of pecuniary loss is $50 or more but less than $500; (3) a Class A misdemeanor if: (A) the amount of pecuniary loss is: (i) $500 or more but less than $1,500; or (ii) less than $1,500 and the actor causes in whole or in part impairment or interruption of public communications, public transportation, public gas or power supply, or other public service, or causes to be diverted in whole, in part, or in any manner, including installation or removal of any device for any such purpose, any public communications or public gas or power supply; or (B) the actor causes in whole or in part impairment or interruption of any public water supply, or causes to be diverted in whole, in part, or in any manner, including installation or removal of any device for any such purpose, any public water supply, regardless of the amount of the pecuniary loss; (4) a state jail felony if the amount of pecuniary loss is: (A) $1,500 or more but less than $20,000; (B) less than $1,500, if the property damaged or destroyed is a habitation and if the damage or destruction is caused by a firearm or explosive weapon; or (C) less than $1,500, if the property was a fence used for the production or containment of: (i) cattle, bison, horses, sheep, swine, goats, exotic livestock, or exotic poultry; or (ii) game animals as that term is defined by Section 63.001, Parks and Wildlife Code; (5) a felony of the third degree if the amount of the pecuniary loss is $20,000 or more but less than $100,000; (6) a felony of the second degree if the amount of pecuniary loss is $100,000 or more but less than $200,000; or (7) a felony of the first degree if the amount of pecuniary loss is $200,000 or more. (c) For the purposes of this section, it shall be presumed that a person who is receiving the economic benefit of public communications, public water, gas, or power supply, has knowingly tampered with the tangible property of the owner if the communication or supply has been: (1) diverted from passing through a metering device; or (2) prevented from being correctly registered by a metering device; or (3) activated by any device installed to obtain public communications, public water, gas, or power supply without a metering device. (d) The terms "public communication, public transportation, public gas or power supply, or other public service" and "public water supply" shall mean, refer to, and include any such services subject to regulation by the Public Utility Commission of Texas, the Railroad Commission of Texas, or the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission or any such services enfranchised by the State of Texas or any political subdivision thereof. (e) When more than one item of tangible property, belonging to one or more owners, is damaged, destroyed, or tampered with in violation of this section pursuant to one scheme or continuing course of conduct, the conduct may be considered as one offense, and the amounts of pecuniary loss to property resulting from the damage to, destruction of, or tampering with the property may be aggregated in determining the grade of the offense. (f) An offense under this section is a state jail felony if the damage or destruction is inflicted on a place of worship or human burial, a public monument, or a community center that provides medical, social, or educational programs and the amount of the pecuniary loss to real property or to tangible personal property is less than $20,000. (g) In this section: (1) "Explosive weapon" means any explosive or incendiary device that is designed, made, or adapted for the purpose of inflicting serious bodily injury, death, or substantial property damage, or for the principal purpose of causing such a loud report as to cause undue public alarm or terror, and includes: (A) an explosive or incendiary bomb, grenade, rocket, and mine; (B) a device designed, made, or adapted for delivering or shooting an explosive weapon; and (C) a device designed, made, or adapted to start a fire in a time-delayed manner. (2) "Firearm" has the meaning assigned by Section 46.01. (3) "Institution of higher education" has the meaning assigned by Section 61.003, Education Code. (h) An offense under this section is a state jail felony if the amount of the pecuniary loss to real property or to tangible personal property is $1,500 or more but less than $20,000 and the damage or destruction is inflicted on a public or private elementary school, secondary school, or institution of higher education. (i) Notwithstanding Subsection (b), an offense under this section is a felony of the first degree if the property is livestock and the damage is caused by introducing bovine spongiform encephalopathy, commonly known as mad cow disease, or a disease described by Section 161.041(a), Agriculture Code. In this subsection, "livestock" has the meaning assigned by Section 161.001, Agriculture Code. Acts 1973, 63rd Leg., p. 883, ch. 399, § 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1974. Amended by Acts 1981, 67th Leg., p. 66, ch. 29, § 1, eff. Aug. 31, 1981; Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 2917, ch. 497, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1983; Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 352, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985; Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 559, § 1, eff. June 14, 1989; Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 1253, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989; Acts 1989, 71st Leg., 1st C.S., ch. 42, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989; Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 900, § 1.01, eff. Sept. 1, 1994; Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 76, § 11.280, eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1083, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 686, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 747, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2001; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 976, § 2, eff. Sept. 1, 2001; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1280, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

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