Criminal Damage & Arson

Our criminal defence team is significantly experienced in representing individuals accused of criminal damage. We are unrivalled in respect to defending claims of damage to property and arson.

  • The main offence for criminal damage comes from Section 1 of the Criminal Damage Act 1971. It consists of the destruction of or damage to property, which belongs to another, without lawful excuse. The offence can be tried either way. If the damage does not exceed £5000, the case will be heard at the Magistrates Court who can impose a maximum of 6 months imprisonment or a standard Level 5 fine (unlimited). If the damage does in fact exceed £5000, the case will be heard at the Crown Court who can impose a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment.
  • Arson, governed by Section 1(3) of the Criminal Damage Act 1971, stems from the offence of criminal damage. It carries the same characteristics as criminal damage. However, it must be shown that the destruction or damage was caused by fire. This offence can also be tried either way, depending on the extent of damage caused. If it is heard at the Magistrates Court, a maximum sentence of 6 months imprisonment can be imposed. Alternatively, if it is tried at the Crown Court, a maximum sentence of life imprisonment can be imposed.

There are, however, several defences available if you are accused of criminal damage. If the acting individual believed that the victim honestly and sincerely consented to the damage, there is a potential defence to criminal damage allegations. If the individual acted to protect property belonging to himself or to another, there is a possible defence again. At the time of acting, if the individual believed that the property damaged was in immediate need of protection, there could be a defence to work in the individual’s favour.

At Rees Clayton Solicitors, we are prepared to defend any criminal damage allegations made against you. We strongly suggest you seek expert legal advice and representation before you attend a court hearing. If you have been accused of criminal damage or arson, call us today on 01282 678767 / 0330 053 6767 or contact us online.