This offence is committed when a person, without lawful authority, destroys or damages property belonging to another. A person can be guilty of this if they or their actions are reckless rather than intentional.
There are different types of criminal damage which are dealt with in different courts. Small scale damage (breaking a shop window) will be dealt with in the Magistrates Court. This type of offence carries a maximum sentence of 3 months imprisonment. More serious types of criminal damage where the value exceeds £5000 or the use of fire is alleged will be heard in the Crown Court where the maximum sentence is 10 years.