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Toronto Mischief Charges Lawyer

How to press mischief charges against someone

A private prosecution is an option for victims of mischief when the police refuse to lay charges.

Understanding the criminal offence of mischief and how to rectify it.

A lot of victims of mischief may be looking to press criminal charges against the perpetrator. Mischief cases are crimes involving property damage or the interference with the use and enjoyment of property. This means that criminal mischief encompasses not just cases where something is damaged, but also cases where the perpetrator’s behaviour is interfering with the victim’s ability to enjoy and utilize their living space or current environment (including commercial and public property).

If the second part of this definition, the “interference” part, seems incredibly open ended and subjective that is because it is. Mischief is often said to be the offence that any bad behaviour that is not otherwise specifically classified in the Criminal Code to be illegal that is used by the police to press charges. Behaviour that may go against social norms, be annoying, bothersome, or otherwise problematic may be classified as mischief leading to criminal charges.

Some other forms of mischief are far more obvious such as graffiti, keying a car, breaking windows or a door, etc. People do sometimes get charged for mischief for being loud, trespassing, video recording people in public, and other types of behaviour that they probably had no idea they could be charged criminally for.

I am a victim of mischief. What if the police refuse to lay charges against the perpetrator?

The first step for victims is to report the incident to the police however the police may determine that there is a lack of evidence or that the behaviour should not be classified as criminal mischief. As such they may refuse to press charges. If the police won’t charge the perpetrator and the victim still wants them to be charged, they have the option of pressing the charges themselves through a process known as a private prosecution in Ontario.

In a private prosecution it is the victim who files the court paperwork and swears that they believe a criminal offence has been committed. The Crown Attorney will then be assigned to the case to take over the potential prosecution of the now accused perpetrator. Private prosecution applications for mischief charges can involve people who know each other intimately or are total strangers. Most of the cases we see involve:
  1. Disputes among neighbours,
  2. Disputes with employers, job sites, or computer data theft or damage,
  3. Domestic / intimate partner violence cases,
  4. Real property disputes over homes, cottages, trailers, etc.,
  5. Vandalism or property damage to homes, businesses, or vehicles in various forms including graffiti and egging,
  6. Voyeurism or sexual related claims involving CCTV and other cameras,
  7. CCTV recording of property via security cameras (camera peering inside one's home or yard).
The police have often already been called and are aware of the claims but have chosen not to press charges.

Sometimes these cases involve long standing disputes that have already been reported to the police. The police may have already responded in the past by:
  1. Giving the accused a warning or caution about their behaviour,
  2. Told the accused to apply for a peace bond via s. 810 of the Criminal Code,
  3. Told the victim/complainant that the issue is a civil one and to contact a civil lawyer.
There is a 4th option that is less well known called a private prosecution or laying a private information.

Using a private prosecution to have the person charged with mischief.

If the victim is not satisfied with one or all 3 of the above options, their 4th option is a private prosecution to have the perpetrator criminally charged despite the police choosing not to proceed with the charges.

It is common for there to be differing opinions as to what the strength or the evidence is or as to whether the behaviour complained of rose to the level of criminal mischief or not. Each police force in Ontario operates differently and in some jurisdictions charges for mischief may be laid more often than in others. While a bad neighbour may be charged in Peel Region or Kitchener/Waterloo for mischief, the same behaviour may just lead to a warning in Toronto, York or somewhere else.

The private prosecution allows the victim to press criminal mischief charges themself if the police refuse to do so. If you are looking to hire a lawyer to assist with pressing charges against someone give us a call now.

If you are looking for more information about the pressing criminal charges yourself, please also see our page on private prosecution applications in Ontario.

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 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
  • U.S. 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 or 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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  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