Mischief Under or Over $5000 Charges

Mischief is a commonly charged criminal offence in British Columbia. The charge relates to the intentional damage or destruction of someone else’s property such as a laptop, cell phone, or clothing, and is frequently laid in relation to assault cases or allegations of domestic violence.  While less serious than a Mischief Over $5000 charge, the possible penalties for a conviction for Mischief Under $5000 in Canada can be significant.  There are, however, a number of defences to a Mischief charge, and your lawyer can help determine if these defences apply in your specific case.

The Law Office of Alexander Ejsmont is a Vancouver based criminal defence practice that assists clients charged with Mischief in British Columbia and throughout Canada.  The firm is available for consultations seven days a week in downtown Vancouver and has successfully helped hundreds of clients facing criminal charges under the Criminal Code of Canada.  All consultations are free and strictly confidential.  

What are some recent Mischief cases you’ve defended?

R. v. K.T. [2016] - Client, a university student with no record, is charged with Mischief and Domestic Assault relating to multiple incidents. Serious allegations result in Crown initial screening position of jail. Following discussions with Crown counsel, multiple counselling reports, and the passing of some time, the Crown agrees to drop the charges upon the client entering into a Peace Bond for 12 months - CHARGES WITHDRAWN and NO CRIMINAL RECORD

R. v. W.K. [2015] – Client, an international student on a visa, is charged with Break and Enter into a dwelling house and Mischief Under $5000.  The allegations are domestic related and involve an ex-girlfriend and an acrimonious break-up.  The Crown proceeds by indictment, and the maximum possible sentence is imprisonment for life.  Following four month negotiation period with the Crown, the client enters a plea to just the Mischief charge and the Break and Enter is dropped.  A criminal record would have meant a possible deportation order and removal from Canada. The judge accepts a joint recommendation for a Conditional Discharge with no criminal record–  CONDITIONAL DISCHARGE and NO CRIMINAL RECORD


R. v. M.M. [2013] – Client, a female non-citizen, was charged with Uttering Death Threats, Assault, Domestic AssaultAssault with a Weapon, and Mischief Over $5000 following allegations of various incidents with boyfriends's family members, including damaging a home, attack with a knife, and threatening to burn down house.  Serious allegations (with possible jail and immigration consequences) required trial.  After 2 day cross-examination of main Crown witness, client fount not guilty of all charges.– NOT GUILTY OF ALL CHARGES


R. v. B.G. [2012] – Client, a corporate professional, was charged with Domestic Assault, Uttering Death Threats, Mischief, and Being Unlawfully in a Dwelling following break-up with girlfriend of two years.  Crown alleged injuries and was seeking a significant jail term notwithstanding credibility and motive to fabricate issues brought to Crown’s attention during pre-trial discussions. Following a three day trial, client is found NOT GUILTY OF ALL CHARGES.


R. v. M.B. [2012] – Client was charged with Domestic Assault, Assault Bodily Harm, Mischief, Weapons Dangerous, and Forcible Confinement following a serious domestic dispute.  Client is arrested at the scene.  Severity of allegations result in matter being screened for jail.  Following a comprehensive plan of rehabilitation, multiple discussions with the Crown and several Judicial Pre-Trials over the course of a year, client please to assault and mischief, all other remaining charges are withdrawn, and judge accepts joint submission for a CONDITIONAL DISCHARGE


R. v. H.A. [2012] – Client, a university student, was charged with Break and Enter and Mischief for allegedly breaking into a commercial retail space in the downtown core following a night of drinking.  Client was confronted on the scene by security and was arrested – CHARGES WITHDRAWN AND NO CRIMINAL RECORD


R. v. L.A. [2010] – Client charged with Drug Possession, Mischief relating to damage to property, and Theft Under $5000 stemming from alcohol induced outburst with several eyewitnesses – No prior criminal history – CHARGES WITHDRAWN AND NO CRIMINAL RECORD


R. v. A.E. [2011] - Client charged with Break and Enter with Intent and Mischief Under $5000.  Complainant returned home to find damage to a window and my Client in his residence, allegedly in an intoxicated state.  Police attended the scene and charged my Client.  Following discussions with the Crown, Client completed a comprehensive alcohol counseling and diversion program - CHARGES WITHDRAWN AND NO CRIMINAL RECORD

R. v. W.J. [2009] – Client charged with Assault Bodily Harm and Mischief stemming from alcohol induced attack on passerby victim on major downtown street; subsequently charged with 4 Breaches of court conditions and Obstruct Police – SUSPENDED SENTENCE AND PROBATION


What is the maximum possible penalty for Mischief in British Columbia?

  • (2) Every one who commits mischief that causes actual danger to life is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for life.

  • (3) Every one who commits mischief in relation to property that is a testamentary instrument or the value of which exceeds five thousand dollars

    • (a) is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years; or

    • (b) is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.

  • (4) Every one who commits mischief in relation to property, other than property described in subsection (3),

    • (a) is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years; or

    • (b) is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.

How is Mischief defined in the Criminal Code of Canada?

Under the Criminal Code of Canada:

 (1) Every one commits mischief who wilfully (a) destroys or damages property; (b) renders property dangerous, useless, inoperative or ineffective; (c) obstructs, interrupts or interferes with the lawful use, enjoyment or operation of property; or (d) obstructs, interrupts or interferes with any person in the lawful use, enjoyment or operation of property.

How long does the average Mischief case take?

The average criminal case in British Columbia, as throughout the rest of Canada, takes over 100 days from the time of the initial court appearance.  A person who is charged is always able to plead guilty at an early stage, or alternatively wait for his day in court at a trial.  Trial schedules vary from court to court, and sometimes the wait for a trial day may be in excess of one year.