Breaking a window, damaging a car, painting graffiti on a wall…these are serious matters and can lead to criminal charges!
Mischief: a criminal offence
Deliberately breaking or damaging things that belong to someone else is a crime called “mischief.” It can take many forms, such as:
- Breaking or damaging something : breaking a window, cutting a fence or breaking down a door, for example,
- Making something unusable or dangerous: giving someone a flat tire, for example
- Preventing people from having access to or using a place: blocking access to a building or a road, for example.
You also commit mischief if you deface an object in a public space. This is often called vandalism. Examples include damaging a bus shelter or painting graffiti on a wall.
Important! Municipalities often have their own by-laws prohibiting such activities. In this situation, the police have a choice. They can give the person a ticket or arrest them for having committed a criminal offence.