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Toronto Mischief Charges Lawyer

Mischief charges for damage to motor vehicles

One common form of criminal mischief is when individuals intentionally cause damage to someone else’s vehicle. Most cases involve auto body scratching (keying), cutting tires, breaking side mirrors, and broken windows. Other times liquid, paint, or other substances are applied to or thrown at the interior or exterior of the vehicle.

This crime can be spontaneous or planned but is most often the result of an individual looking for revenge against someone else. The vast majority of cases are not random acts of destruction.

The accused may be charged with either mischief under $5000 or mischief over $5000. Some police forces, such as Peel, tend to always charge for mischief over $5000 if they believe the vehicle itself is worth more than $5000 even if the actual cost of the damage is less than that amount. Other forces, such as York and Toronto, usually will charge based on the estimated cost of repair which means most people are charged with mischief under $5000. The case law in Ontario is unclear as to which approach is correct.

The most common forms of motor vehicle mischief criminal cases in the Greater Toronto Area

Parking lot disputes: Sometimes one driver perceives another to steal (drive into) what they believe to be their parking spot. This can cause immediate rage particularly if the person whose spot is being “stolen” is suffering from depression, anxiety, or is just having a bad day/going through a difficult time. In response they may key the car of the other driver, slash their tires, deflate them, or otherwise damage their vehicle. The evidence in these cases usually comes from eye witness accounts or CCTV security footage. While these charges are common all across the GTA, we find them to be particularly common in York Region.

Police car back window damage: These incidents almost always involve alcohol intoxication. Usually the accused is being arrested for something else (public intoxication, urinating in public, assault, causing a disturbance, etc.) and while in the back seat of the Police car they kick out the back window of the cruiser. In some cases the individual would have ultimately been released without being charged had they not damaged the Police car.

Uber/Lyft/Taxi: Usually in a state of intoxication sometimes people become enraged with drivers of ride sharing or taxi vehicles. When emotions rise sometimes the driver’s vehicle is damaged and the Police are called as a result. One aggravating factor in these cases is when racial or other socially inappropriate remarks are spoken by the passenger to the driver. The Crown Attorney will be much harsher in cases which appear to contain an element of hate or racism.

Road Rage incidents: Tailgating, cutting people off, driving too slow, holding up traffic, aggressive driving and other bad habits make people extremely angry. Perhaps to one driver there is no reason to rush to arrive at the fresh red light up ahead, the person behind them may still become enraged and get out of their vehicle to confront the other driver. Usually a side mirror gets bashed or the windshield hit (causing the glass to spider if the enraged party happens to hit the 'sweet spot' of the window pane). When glass is broken it may fall on the occupants inside the vehicle. If children are present (in either vehicle) it makes the case even worse and may lead to a Children’s Aid Society investigation.

Crown Attorneys view getting out of the car to confront the other driver as a dangerous next step. Other times a coffee, tea, soda, or other drink is thrown from one vehicle into the other which usually leads to a mischief and an assault charge for the person who threw it. These cases also result from community members reacting to persistent speeding or other dangerous driving in their neighbourhoods which they perceive to put children in danger.

Alcohol showing off: Not as common as many of the other forms of vehicular mischief cases but sometimes people will damage cars parked along the roadway after a night of drinking to “show off for their friends”, as a dare, a mission, or other ‘thrill in the moment related’ reason. There is usually no connection between the accused and the victim in these cases which almost always are perpetrated by young men who are drunk.

Domestic: During a relationship dispute one party may take out their revenge on the other by damaging their vehicle. Sometimes words like “cheater” are engraved into the car, but usually it is just general damage. People can take a great deal of pride in their cars/trucks so they are an obvious target for revenge. Even if the parties are married charges will still be filed as it is a crime to damage matrimonial property. These cases are domestic classified meaning they are prosecuted very heavily and the Police will always charge if the evidence supports it (admission, eye witness, video, etc.).

Cyclist disputes: Cyclists will sometimes damage vehicles they believe are driving inappropriately. Even if the vehicle driver was initially in the wrong, when the cyclist physically damages the offending car they will be the one who is criminally charged for mischief while the driver will walk free in the vast majority of cases. Any physical contact with a vehicle leaving a mark, dent, scratch, etc. is enough to be charged. The Police will often describe the damage as appearing fresh to suggest it was not the result of prior contact.

Parking lot pedestrian anger: Parking lots are a dangerous place for pedestrians who are often with their children. When they perceive a driver to put their safety in jeopardy by driving too fast, not looking for pedestrians, or unsafely turning into a spot they may decide to exact revenge by damaging the person’s vehicle.

Workplace and neighbour disputes: Non domestic personal mischief to motor vehicle cases tend to involve neighbours and workplace anger. Anger with coworkers, bosses, and neighbours may lead to one party damaging the motor vehicle as a form of revenge. These cases can be of a repeated nature. If there is no evidence (eye witness, confession or video) but one party is strongly suspected the Police will tell the victim to install a hidden camera CCTV system which may ultimately capture the behaviour.

Wouldn’t the insurance companies just cover the losses anyway?

If the person has comprehensive insurance it may cover vandalism but this is not guaranteed. Most people will still have an out of pocket deductible to pay either way. Even if it is totally covered by insurance this makes no difference whatsoever as to whether the Police will charge the person or not. In fact, some Crown Attorneys will even ask the courts for the defendant to reimburse the insurance company for their losses. We don’t agree with this reasoning because insurance companies factor vandalism losses into their premiums but it happens and some courts will agree with the Crown.

The Police said they won’t charge me if I pay for the damage? They want me to go down to the station to give them my side of the story?

If there are no eye witnesses or video evidence the Police will often need the suspect to confess before they can charge them. They will often lie to the suspect to make them believe the evidence against them is strong in order to get them to confess. Sometimes even an innocent person may confess because they are nervous about criminal charges being filed against them that may cause them to become unemployable, deported, and unable to travel to countries such as the United States in the future. It can be an incredibly intimidating experience especially for someone who has never had any contact with the Police before.

This is why it is extremely important for anyone suspected of or charged with any form of mischief to contact a criminal lawyer immediately for advice.

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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        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