Malicious Destruction of Property - MDOP

A person who willfully and maliciously damages the property of another can be charged with a crime know as malicious destruction of property, commonly known as MDOP. Whether an MDOP is charged as a misdemeanor or serious felony will depend upon the extent of property damage. The aggregate amount of destruction conducted over a 12 month period may be considered to elevate an MDOP to a higher tiered criminal offense. Any MDOP of police or fire department property, school buses, bridges or water structures (such as a dam or reservoir) is a felony.

MDOP penalties, restitution

MDOP CrimeMaximum Michigan Penalty
$20,000 or more10 years imprisonment and/or fine $15,000.00 or 3x value
$1,000 to $20,0005 years imprisonment and/or fine $10,000.00 or 3x value
$200 to $1,0001 year imprisonment and/or fine $2,000.00 or 3x value
Under $20093 days and/or fine $500.00 or 3x value

A person that intentionally causes damage to a motor vehicle, personal property, real estate or landscape can be held financially responsible. Once in the court system, an offender can be ordered to pay restitution to any victim or insurance company that covers the loss.


An individual, after being found guilty of a crime, can be ordered to pay restitution to any victim(s) arising out of the criminal offense. Restitution usually entails compensation for out-of-pocket losses such as medical expenses or property damages. A person that recovers restitution in a criminal proceeding will continue to retain the right to file a separate civil lawsuit for damages. A civil lawsuit may only include a claim for damages not otherwise ordered or recovered in other proceedings. Civil damages may include non-economic losses such as pain and suffering. Avoiding both a criminal restitution claim and subsequent civil lawsuit requires a mutual release agreement. A mutual release agreement requires the consent of both parties after they each have retained independent legal representation. The prosecutor and the court ordering restitution in a criminal case will not help to have all civil claims resolved by encouraging a mutual release agreement. In our opinion, this is unfair and leads to expensive civil litigation that could otherwise be avoided.

Isolated incident, youthful offenders, juveniles, adult offenders

Here are some of the ways that the courts may view those charged with a criminal offense or MDOP:

Isolated Incident: In most cases that we see, the party that faces MDOP criminal charges is not a violent person but merely acted inappropriately or impulsively. In the legal system, we call this type of behavior an “isolated incident” which is not likely to be repeated. Based upon experience, isolated incident offenders do not have a prior criminal record (or may have an old criminal record which does not involve violence) and have a good reputation in the community. I have found that the court system treats the isolated incident offender with fairness and leniency. As we discuss within our website, there are various provisions of law that we attempt to negotiate through plea bargaining to get the charges dismissed, amended or reduced for individuals fitting this description. Restitution to the victim is always a component of any plea bargain in every case involving MDOP.

Youthful Offenders/Juveniles: MDOP cases frequently involve youthful offenders engaged in random acts of misconduct such as breaking windows, damaging school property, keying motor vehicles or tagging (spray painting/graffiti). Youthful offenders (age 17 but under 24) may be eligible for disposition pursuant to HYTA. Upon completion of HYTA probation, the case is dismissed and the record is sealed. Individuals under the age 17 are treated as “juvenile delinquents” within the juvenile court system. Juveniles may be considered for the lenient provisions known as diversion or consent calendar to earn a dismissal of a criminal offense. HYTA is utilized extensively in in all Macomb, Oakland, Wayne, St. Clair district and circuit courts.

Adults: MDOP cases involving adults often arise out of problematic relationships. Assault charges or domestic violence may be coupled with a charge of MDOP when intentional physical contact occurs with another party. Intoxication may also be factor in both MDOP and domestic violence cases. In a scenario such as this, a person with a good record might qualify for a disposition under MCL 771.1 with a plea bargain for a dismissal after a period of probation.

If you are accused of malicious destruction of property (MDOP) or any other misdemeanor or felony in Macomb, Oakland or Wayne or St. Clair County, contact the ABDO LAW FIRM for complete criminal defense representation. Legal entanglements are often manageable. All it takes is one phone call to get answers to your most pressing legal questions and immediate attention to your legal problem.