Fulton County police arrested Ty Ashley yesterday. Ashley is being accused of vandalizing over a dozen vehicles at a parking deck for a Buckhead apartment complex.
Witnesses at the complex identified Ashley as the vandal, stating that they saw him keying vehicles in the area.
According to police reports, Ashley has been charged with second degree criminal damage to property in Georgia. As a Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyer, I am familiar with the confusion between the degrees of criminal damage to property.
In today's post, I will explain the differences and some of the defenses that can be utilized if wrongly accused
Criminal Damage to Property in the First Degree
Georgia Law defines the offense of criminal damage to property in the first degree in Georgia as:
A person commits the offense of criminal damage to property in the first degree when he knowingly and without authority interfere with any property in a manner as to endanger human life; or knowingly and without authority and by force or violence interfere with the operation of public communication, public transportation, sewerage, drainage, water supply, gas, power, or other public utility service or with any constituent power thereof. O.C.G.A. §16-7-22.
A criminal damage to property in the first degree conviction in Georgia is classified as a felony, and the punishment will be a prison term between one and ten years.
Criminal Damage to Property in the Second Degree
Georgia Law defines the offense of criminal damage to property in the second degree in Georgia as:
A person commits the offense of criminal damage to property in the second degree when they intentionally damage any property of another person without their consent, and the damage, therefore, exceeds $500.00; or recklessly or intentionally, by means of fire or explosive, damages property of another person. O.C.G.A. §16-7-23.
A criminal damage to property in the second degree conviction in Georgia is also classified as a felony, and the punishment will be a prison term between one and five years.
As a Georgia Criminal Defense Attorney, I do my best to note that no one should be presumed guilty just because they have been accused of a criminal offense. In fact, by law, everyone is to be presumed innocent until proven guilty.
With both of the above-mentioned offenses, the prosecution will have to prove that the accused person is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. This includes demonstrating that the accused person did not only cause the damage, but they did it intentionally.
There are a number of Georgia Criminal Defenses that apply to both first degree criminal damage to property in Georgia and second degree criminal damage to property in Georgia.
Some defenses that apply include the following:
- The damage was accidental.
- There was authority to interfere.
- Causing the damage was done unintentionally.
- There was consent from the owner of the property to cause the damage.