malicious mischief. The common-law misdemeanor of intentionally destroying or damaging another’s property. ? Although modern statutes predominantly make this offense a misdemeanor, a few make it a felony (depending on the nature of the property or its value). See Model Penal Code ¡ì 220.


¡ª Also termed malicious mischief and trespass; malicious injury; malicious trespass; malicious damage; maliciously damaging the property of another; (in the Model Penal Code) criminal mischief. [Cases: Malicious Mischief

1. C.J.S. Malicious or Criminal Mischief or Damage to Property ¡ì¡ì 2¨C5.]

¡°Such phrases as ¡®malicious mischief and trespass,¡¯ ¡®malicious injury,¡¯ and ¡®maliciously damaging the property of another,¡¯ are merely additional labels used at times to indicate the same offense. It was a misdemeanor according to the common law of England, although some confusion has resulted from Blackstone’s statement that it was ¡®only a trespass at common law.¡¯ Before the word ¡®misdemeanor¡¯ became well established the old writers tended to use the word ¡®trespass’ to indicate an offense below the grade of felony. And it was used at times by Blackstone for this purpose, as in the phrase ¡®treason, felony, or trespass.¡¯ ¡± Rollin M. Perkins & Ronald N. Boyce, Criminal Law 405 (3d ed. 1982).

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