malicious mischief.The common-law misdemeanor of intentionally destroying or damaging another’s property. • Although modern statutes predominantly make this offense a misdemeanor, a few make it a felony (depending on the nature of the property or its value). See Model Penal Code § 220.3. — Also termed malicious mischief and trespass; malicious injury; malicious trespass; malicious damage; maliciously damaging the property of another; (in the Model Penal Code) criminal mischief. [Cases: Malicious Mischief 1. C.J.S. Malicious or Criminal Mischief or Damage to Property §§ 2–5.]
“Such phrases as ‘malicious mischief and trespass,’ ‘malicious injury,’ and ‘maliciously damaging the property of another,’ are merely additional labels used at times to indicate the same offense. It was a misdemeanor according to the common law of England, although some confusion has resulted from Blackstone’s statement that it was ‘only a trespass at common law.’ Before the word ‘misdemeanor’ became well established the old writers tended to use the word ‘trespass’ to indicate an offense below the grade of felony. And it was used at times by Blackstone for this purpose, as in the phrase ‘treason, felony, or trespass.’ ” Rollin M. Perkins & Ronald N. Boyce, Criminal Law 405 (3d ed. 1982).
[Blacks Law 8th]