Columbia Property Crimes Lawyer

Burglary, arson, tampering, property damage, are all criminal offenses listed in Chapter 569 of the Revised Statutes of Missouri. These offenses can range from being charged as misdemeanors or serious felonies, depending on the criminal conduct alleged. Sometimes these offenses can be technical in nature and the prosecutor may have to prove intent to commit a crime and/or that a dangerous weapon was involved.

To defend against such charges, a Columbia property crimes lawyer may be necessary.

Arson – Generally, a person commits the offense of arson if he or she knowingly damages a building or inhabitable structure by starting a fire or causing an explosion. The range of punishment can vary from a Class A Misdemeanor to a Class A Felony depending upon some factors:

  • whether or not the conduct was reckless or intentional;
  • who owned and/or had possessory rights to the property burned;
  • whether or not an injury or death occurred during the criminal act; and
  • whether or not methamphetamine was a cause of the fire and/or explosion.

Burglary – A person commits the offense of burglary when he or she knowingly enters unlawfully or knowingly remains unlawfully in a building or inhabitable structure for the purpose of committing a crime therein. Burglary is a Class D Felony but can be charged as a Class B Felony if the person or another participant in the offense:

  • Is armed with explosives or a deadly weapon;
  • Causes or threatens immediate physical injury to any person who is not a participant in the crime; or
  • There is present in the structure another person who is not a participant in the crime.

Property Damage – A person commits the offense of Property Damage if they knowingly damage the property of another or damage property for the purpose of defrauding an insurer. Property Damage offenses range from a Class B Misdemeanor to a Class B felony depending upon monetary value of the property damaged, how the property was damaged, and whether or not there are prior convictions for property damage.

Tampering – A person commits the offense of tampering if they prevent the use and enjoyment of property or a utility of another person. Tampering offenses range from a Class A Misdemeanor to a Class D Felony. If you have previous convictions for Tampering, you could face enhanced penalties. Acts that rise to the level of Tampering include:

  • tampering with the property of another for the purpose of causing substantial inconvenience to that person or to another;
  • unlawfully riding in or upon another’s automobile, airplane, motorcycle, motorboat or other motor-propelled vehicle;
  • tampers or makes connections with property of a utility;
  • tampers with, or causes to be tampered with, any meter or other property of an electric, gas, steam or water utility to either (a) prevent the proper measuring of service, or (b) permit the diversion of such service;
  • causing substantial interruption or impairment of service rendered to the public by a utility or by an institution providing health or safety protection; or
  • knowingly receiving, possessing, selling, or unlawfully operating an automobile, airplane, motorcycle, motorboat, or other motor-propelled vehicle without the consent of the owner.
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