Mischievous Behaviour: Understanding Ontario’s Lesser-Known Mischief Laws

In Ontario, you can get a punishment of up to life imprisonment for committing mischief. It means you willingly destroy property and make it useless to the owner. 

Whether you get charged with serious or lighter verisons of mischief, these laws can drastically affect you. These laws also apply to a person who damages property of which they are a partial owner.

What are mischievous behaviours?

To understand the mischief laws in Ontario, you need to know what punishable behaviour is. These include;

  • Damaging personal property such as electronics like TVs
  • Hacking and taking or changing personal data from someone’s computer
  • Destroying someone’s car, like keying the vehicle or breaking windows
  • Spraying graffiti on someone’s property 

 The laws prosecute anyone guilty of unlawful conduct in public or private areas. 

How is the punishment established?

The punishment depends on the degree of damage to the property. It is severe if the property is completely damaged and cannot get repaired. 

The person has to commit the offense willingly for the behaviour to be punishable by the law. The punishment also depends on the value of the property destroyed. 

If the damage is worth more than $5000, the offender can spend up to 10 years in prison. It also denies the convicted person visa to travel to other countries. 

The person found guilty can get a criminal record. It can inhibit the person from getting meaningful employment after serving their sentence. 

In some cases, it attracts a penalty of life imprisonment. 

What happens when you get arrested and charged for mischievous behaviour in Ontario?

Depending on the seriousness of the charges, you can get held in custody or released. The police will take the details, such as fingerprints and pictures. 

If the charges are not serious, you get a notice to appear in court. They also warn you against being at the location you caused damage. 

The court hearing can grant bail for first-time offenders depending on the severity of the case. For the arrested, they will need to wait for their court hearing while in jail. 

If you find yourself convicted for such a crime, the best option is to seek a criminal defense lawyer. The lawyer should be from the region where the crime was committed. It is because different regions have different laws about mischievous behaviour. 

How can criminal defense lawyers offer help to mischief offenders?

Ontario’s criminal defense lawyers can help reduce or mitigate the sentence. Criminal defense lawyers are essential, especially for first-time offenders. 

A criminal record limits educational and employment opportunities for the person who is found guilty. Criminal defense lawyers can help offenders by getting the charges dropped. 

Instead of getting a criminal record, the offenders enrol in anger management classes. They can also join counselling or community service. The authorities also offer them a chance to replace or repay the damaged property. 

Criminal lawyers also help remove the offender’s information from the database. They can file papers to allow the offender to get their travel rights and a chance for meaningful employment. 


Criminal offenses such as mischievous behaviours are not widely known. It is imperative to understand how committing these crimes can affect your life. This guide can help you know what it is and how to get help if you are in a similar situation.