Wednesday, August 13, 2014

101 Things

An Author Needs to Know

About the Police and the Law

What is criminal mischief?

Criminal mischief is causing damage to another person's property and doing it willfully and maliciously.  That's a good word; malicious.  What does it mean?  You are malicious when you wrongfully, intentionally, without legal justification or excuse do harm to someone else or to their property, and you do it knowing that it will be harmful.  So a prank gone bad is not criminal mischief.    

What is willful?  That means intentionally, knowingly and purposefully.

 Examples of criminal mischief would be an angry woman setting her man's car on fire,  throwing rocks through windows, spray painting graffiti, or slashing tires.  If the dollar amount of the damage reaches a certain level, the crime becomes a felony as opposed to a misdemeanor.  Adding the element of hatred, such as defacing a Jewish cemetery, changes the charge to a 'hate crime' and  ups the punishment.



Mary Jo said...

In today's environment, what about the people (usually teenaged or early twenties men) who feel they have really accomplished something when they damage someone else's property? It is not necessarily malicious...just satisfying to their ego, I guess. I had landscape lighting along my front walk and it evidently enticed passers by to step onto my property and kick over a lamp. We moved them back farther, and they still got kicked over, so now they have been taken out. I don't know how many times my brother had to repaint the big white wall at the side of his shop to get rid of graffiti. It seems to just be a case of exhilarated, "Wheee! Look what we've done!" Idiots.

Tamara said...

Got lots of psychological problems among children now. I believe it coincides with higher divorce rates and also with today's fast pace, in which many parents don't have the luxury of enough nurturing time. This is a writing blog, so I'll add that I did actually write something about this (specifically teenage pregnancies) and tried to get it published on Family Circle's essay last page, which unfortunately was eliminated.

Jody E. Lebel said...

@ Mary Jo. It IS malicious according to the definition: You are malicious when you wrongfully, intentionally, without legal justification or excuse do harm to someone else or to their property, and you do it knowing that it will be harmful. They think it's great fun until they get older and it happens to them. Dumbasses.

Jody E. Lebel said...

@ Tamara. Are there other mags where you story would fit?

Tamara said...

I haven't seen any pubs that take that sort of personal opinion essay. I also wrote one about the Pledge of Allegiance "under God" controversy. Neither found a home. I wrote another one about kids wearing headphones (this was in the 90s) and submitted it to Family Circle also, and the woman there told me it was considered but the topic was finally deemed marginal. They didn't consider the one on teen pregnancy because it had been covered previously.

Jody E. Lebel said...

@ Tamara. Maybe you could turn it into a 'fiction' piece? Parents magazine maybe?

Or That's Life -- here's the link
They are open many subjects, including: Animals/Pets, Books/Literature, Entertainment, Family/Parenting, Fashion, Film/Television, Food/Drink, Health/Medicine, Hobbies/Games/Crafts, Home/Garden, Memoir/Personal, Travel/Place, Women/Female Issues. 700-2800 words but the pay is low...5 cents a word. 52 issues a year.

Chris said...

Good advice but bear in mind that That's Life is an Australian mag, Tamara. So while your articles on teenage pregnancy and the one about kids using headphones are both worth bringing up to date (the latter's very topical, given that the world and his wife now seem to be going round with earpieces in their ears), the Pledge of Allegiance to God controversy is unlikely to find a home there.