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Mischief Charges in Ontario

To understand how you may be able to fight your Ontario mischief charges, first you must understand what “mischief” is.

To commit mischief you must WILFULLY, destroy or damage property, render property useless, dangerous, inoperative or ineffective, or obstruct, interrupt or interfere with the lawful use, enjoyment or operation of property.

“Wilfully” in this definition means that you did the act of mischief knowing that the act would probably cause the destruction etc. of the property and being reckless whether the destruction etc. occurs or not.

A possible defence would be that you did not intend to damage the property.

What if it Was My Property?

It can count as mischief even if you have a partial interest in the property you destroyed or damaged. An example would be if you trashed your matrimonial home.If you have a total interest in the property, it can still count as mischief if you destroyed or damaged your property with an intent to defraud.

Penalties for Ontario Mischief Charges

The offence of Mischief can cover a lot of acts. So this offence carries a wide range of punishments.

On the low end of things, where the Crown proceeds by way of summary conviction (for less serious acts of mischief) the maximum penalties for this will be either six or eighteen months, depending on what kind of mischief took place.
Where the Crown proceeds by indictment (for serious acts of mischief), the maximum sentences can range from two years to life imprisonment (25 years).

The penalty can be affected not only by the kind of conduct (what you did), it can also be affected by what kind of property was involved (what you did it to). For example, there is a part of the law that deals specifically with mischief to religious property.

Recent Mischief Cases & Success Stories

CASE STUDY: Withdrawn for Peace Bond – Mischief Under $5,000

Mr. H had no criminal record at the time the incident occurred. We did not want to see Mr. H end up with a criminal record when he was acting out of confusion and intoxication, and so we would seek to have the Crown withdraw the charges in favour of non-criminal diversions.

CASE STUDY: Absolute Discharge – Public Mischief

Ms. W was charged with public mischief for falsely phoning the police. She contacted Aitken Robertson, and Philip Stiles set her at ease and began building her defence.

CASE STUDY: Charges Withdrawn for Peace Bond – Mischief Under $5,000

Mr. R was detained by security guards at an entertainment venue late one August evening after he and another party were separated for a consensual fight. Mr. R was injured after the fight and was treated for his injuries by EMS, but subsequently placed in the venue’s holding cells. Security alleges that while Mr. R was in the holding cell he repeatedly kicked the door, damaging both the door and the frame.

CASE STUDY: Domestic Assault x2 & Mischief Under x2 – Charges Withdrawn

After multiple complaints to police made by Mr. H.s spouse, charges of domestic assault and mischief were laid. The allegations consisted of Mr. H damaging the complainant’s property as well as pushing his wife, grabbing her by the throat and choking. Additionally, the allegations were that the assaults took place while Ms. H was pregnant.

CASE STUDY: Domestic Assault x3, Criminal Harassment, Mischief Under & Theft Under – Charges Withdrawn

After a review of all disclosure materials with Mr. C it was evident that the complainant came forward with false allegations.

CASE STUDY: Plea Bargain – Break and Enter

Our goal was to keep our client out of a lengthy jail sentence. Our client entered a plea bargain and some charges were withdrawn.

CASE STUDY: Withdrawn and No Record – Mischief to Data Under $5,000

Our client was a working professional. Charges were withdrawn and the client was able to avoid a criminal record that would have adversely affected her job.


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