Laws on Vandalism & Destruction of Public Property in Arkansas

By Roger Thorne

Every state criminalizes the intentional and willful destruction of property. Arkansas has several laws that apply to these situations. Both the intentional destruction of property not belonging to the person, which includes public property, and the vandalism of public or private property are outlawed in the state of Arkansas.

Criminal Mischief

Arkansas law categorizes property destruction as criminal mischief. The law states that anyone who intentionally, and without other justification, destroys or causes damage to any property of another can be charged with the crime of criminal mischief in the first degree. If the value of the property damaged or destroyed is less than $500, the crime is charged as a Class A misdemeanor. If the property is valued at more than $500, the crime is charged as a Class C felony.

Landmarks

Arkansas also criminalizes the willful destruction or removal of landmarks. Anyone who cuts down or otherwise removes a "witness tree," monument or other landmark established to mark property boundaries can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor. Apart from the criminal violations, Arkansas law also allows for civil damages in any such case. Any complaining party suing someone for property damages where the destruction of a landmark is an issue is entitled to three times the damages.

Impairing Operations

Arkansas law also criminalizes any action that impairs the operation of a vital public facility. Anyone who impairs such a facility by damaging property or incapacitating the operator of the facility is guilty of a Class C felony offense. Further, anyone who engages in conduct that disrupts or impedes the operation of such a facility, can be charged with a Class A missed demeanor.