Many people enjoy an alcoholic beverage or two on occasion. Most people also know, it can be easy to go overboard while drinking and which can cause you to do something that you later regret. While it is important to take responsibility for one's actions, a mistake made in the heat of the moment does not have to affect your life forever.
Are you a college student facing charges for a crime involving the consumption of alcohol? A conviction could result in serious consequences. If your alleged actions involved any of the following, then understanding the difference between disorderly conduct, criminal mischief, vandalism and theft in Alabama may leave you better prepared to for fighting your charges. For instance, was that broken window at a party a case of criminal mischief, vandalism or theft? Find out more below.
Just mischief but not property damage
Criminal mischief may be the least onerous of the potential charges for a broken window. In the state of Alabama, the charge might just be a misdemeanor -- if the damage was less than $500. Graffiti and street art also usually fall into this category, along with some other similar crimes. Depending on your location and the amount of damage allegedly done, the crime could result in a simple fine or some serious jail time.
Destruction of property
Also known as vandalism, this offense typically means deliberate damaging of another person's property, although the exact definition of the crime can vary. If you intentionally break a window, you could face charges of vandalism. In certain locations, vandalism charges can come with serious potential penalties -- including years of jail time. Regardless of whether you truly made a mistake in the heat of the moment, or if you feel you are being charged for an act you did not commit, seeking legal counsel could prove imperative to your future best interests.
Theft results in greater consequences
Of course, if you break a window with the intention of stealing someone's property, you may face theft charges. Busting through glass to steal the other team's trophy is more than a college prank -- it is theft -- and typically is more serious than a simple disorderly conduct or criminal mischief charge.
Where to turn for support
Regardless of the accusations against you, facing charges for a crime is far from a conviction. It is the prosecution's responsibility to produce evidence that proves you are guilty of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. There are legal advocates readily available who can protect your rights while fighting against these charges. An experienced lawyer can analyze the circumstances of your case to determine the most appropriate defense strategy. Having a skilled lawyer can increase your odds of achieving the best possible outcome, including the possibility of your charges being reduced or dropped altogether.