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Toronto Mischief Charges Lawyer

Mischief Cases in Toronto

Typical Mischief Under $5000 cases in Toronto, Canada

Any unauthorized damage or interference with property that someone does not own can support a charge of mischief under Section 430(3) of the Criminal Code. Cases in the GTA frequently arise even when there is virtually zero dollars worth of damage. Here are some of the most common scenarios that lead to mischief  charges (both over and under $5000).

Tagging and painting property

When an adult (often a young adult aged 18 – 22), or a youth under 18 is caught “tagging” (painting or marking) private or public property they will be charged with mischief. Depending on the type of property damaged and the size/amount of the tag the resulting damage can range from less than one hundred dollars to thousands.

While the teenager or young adult may just see this as a youthful act of foolery, it is a criminal offence that will result in automatic charges if caught. Police in Toronto often use zero discretion in these types of cases and press charges automatically. Worse yet, prosecutors often seek probation and a criminal record in these types of cases even for first time offenders. It is therefore it is important to hire a lawyer to try to get these charges withdrawn.

In cases where your lawyer is able to get the crown to agree to drop or withdraw the charges, it normally involves the defendant agreeing to undertake to perform community service, pay restitution, agree to sign a peace bond, and sometimes attending counselling is also part of the deal. For younger offenders, Crowns often want community service work to help “teach them a lesson”. This being said, lawyers are often able to get the Crown to agree to monetary based agreements in some cases.

The ultimate goal is to have the defendant’s charges withdrawn, but Crown’s don’t often agree to this without something in exchange. As avoiding a criminal record is paramount, .

Damage to vehicles (cars, trucks, etc.)

Vehicle damage mischief cases are common in Toronto. Defendants are often charged with “keying” or damaging a vehicle’s paint, slashing tires, breaking windows, etc. These are often cases of rage. They may stem from a domestic dispute or from other feuds between parties. Sometimes fighting over a parking spot will lead one person to act out in anger. Depending on the type of vehicle and the extent of the damage, these cases may be classified as either over or under $5000. Sometimes it is difficult to quantify the actual damage done to a vehicle because of varying quotes and estimates for body work type damage. In cases where the victim refuses to bring the car in for a proper estimate it may make it difficult to determine an adequate restitution amount.

Vehicle damage mischief cases can often be resolved without the defendant receiving a criminal record. If you hire a lawyer, he may be able to convince the Crown to agree to drop the charges in exchange for restitution, a peace bond, attending counselling or anger management, etc. A lawyer can also assist in ensuring any restitution payment is fair and reasonable.

Cases stemming from nightclubs and bars

We see a lot of cases from individuals who attend nightclubs and, often in a state of intoxication, are accused to damaging property. Typically a door or window will end up broken. Nightclub owners call the police who automatically charge the accused with theft under $5000 at the scene. While many of these cases seem mostly civil in nature security and nightclub owners know that a mischief charge will likely result in a restitution payment for compensation for the damage.

The problem is that many accused end up making that restitution as part of a guilty plea that involves a criminal record. If you’ve been charged with mischief as a result of a nightclub related incident, hiring a lawyer will give you the greatest chance of having the charge withdrawn or dropped.

Domestic mischief cases

Mischief charges can result from domestic related incidents. Often they are part of other common domestic charges (such as assault or threats).

Sometimes there is a legal question as to whether the person being charged is actually a property owner of what they are destroying. It is not mischief to destroy ones own property. You have a merging of civil and criminal law which is not always clear. If you’re facing mischief charges as a result of a domestic related incident, you may not have broken the law at all. It is often arguable in these cases that you have a property interest in what was damaged and that the charges were unwarranted.

TTC Mischief Cases

A common factual scenario resulting in mischief charges involves allegations of damage to TTC property. Bus stops, buses, streetcars, subways, and the interiors and exteriors of TTC building and stations are often vandalized with paint, have glass broken, or sustain other damage. In recent years, the TTC has taken steps to catch more people who damage their property. This includes increased CCTV use, more TTC police, and undercover surveillance.

Once someone is caught, they will normally be held (often by auxillary officers) until the police arrive and charge the individual with mischief. Due to a recent increase in the amount of damage to TTC property, Toronto Police often use very little discretion in charging people. Even in cases where the damage is arguably zero a charge is often laid.

In some cases of marking or tagging TTC property, the mark or tag may be on top of existing damage or easily wiped off. Toronto Police tend to charge these individuals anyway and take a zero tolerance approach to interference with TTC property.

Alcohol related mischief

Approximately half of all mischief under $5000 thousand charges involve the use of alcohol. This is for two main reasons:
  1. People are more likely to damage property while drunk, and
  2. People are more likely to call the police when they are intoxicated.
Often times at a private party or public event something will end up broken and the police will called. Many of these mischief charges could easily have been avoided if the police were not called to begin with. People who are drunk are much more likely to dial 911. When a person reports the damaging of property to 911 the police will attend the scene and a mischief charge will be laid. Had these people waited until the next morning, many of these cases could have been resolved outside of the criminal justice system.

Alcohol Criminal Undertakings

In alcohol related mischief cases the police will often require the accused sign a criminal undertaking with a provision that forbids them from consuming alcohol. If the accused is held for bail, a no alcohol clause would likely be a condition of release on bail. It is often possible to have mischief charges dropped in alcohol related cases involving first time offenders. Often, an alcohol treatment program is part of the deal.

Common Law Peace Bonds

The Crown may only agree to drop the charges if the accused signs a common law peace bond that includes a provision forbidding them from drinking alcohol. This will normally prevent the accused from consuming alcohol for one year after their last court date (even in cases where the Crown agrees to a withdrawal). Whether the accused has a drinking problem or not, they will likely face such restrictions.

Signing a peace bond for a mischief charge can result in serious repercussions and can show up on criminal records checks. It is extremely important that you consult with a lawyer before signing a peace bond for a mischief offense.

Call us today

You don't have to jeopardize your future or waste thousands of dollars on excessive legal fees. We provide effective and affordable lawyer representation for those charged with mischief under $5,000 in the Toronto area.

Have a skilled criminal lawyer who focuses on mischief charges protect you and your future from the stigma and consequences of a criminal record and conviction.

    call us: 647-228-5969


  call us: 647-228-5969


Your case will be defended by a fully licensed Practicing Lawyer of the Law Society of Ontario. For more information about our lawyer, click here.

We provide our clients with:
  • Flat fee pricing
  • US travel advice and information
  • Employment background check advice/services
  • Fingerprints and records destruction services
  • Clear goals of getting charges dropped and bail conditions varied without a trial
  • Help with related immigration issues
  • Vulnerable Sector records suppression help
  • Experienced, focused counsel

* Please note:

If you are not a paying client, we cannot answer questions and provide assistance with U.S. travel, immigration, employment background checks, and avoiding a criminal record. This includes those who have already retained other counsel and those whose cases have already been completed.

We only can take calls/emails relating to Ontario, Canada area cases. Please see our FAQ for a listing of the courthouses we service.

Are you a lawyer? If you are defending a mischief under and over $5000 related case and are looking for expert advice regarding possible defences, case strategies, and information release management call us at: 647-228-5969.

Please note: We do not accept legal aid certificate cases. All clients are handled on a private retainer only.


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        More Information:

  We provide:
  • Flat fee pricing
  • 99%+ non-conviction success rate
  • U.S. travel advice and information
  • Help with related immigration issues
  • Employment background check advice/services
  • Fingerprints and records destruction services
  • A clear goal of getting the charges dropped without a trial
  • Vulnerable Sector records suppression help
  • Timely resolutions
  • Lawyer/client privilege
  • Experienced, focused counsel