Legally Weird - The FindLaw Legal Curiosities Blog

Ex-Wife Arrested for Criminal Mischief and Causing $350K Damage

This week, 61-year-old Ana Rockman of Long Island, New York turned herself in to police for a crime that occurred in 2015. Rockman has been charged with breaking into her ex-husband's home and destroying antiques, appliances, artwork, electronics, instruments, and more.

The total value of the damaged property is estimated at $350,000, as several of the items were highly valued. She was released from custody on $5,000 bail, but is facing felony burglary and criminal mischief charges. However, Rockman turning herself in was not an act of altruism: it was in response to a warrant for her arrest.

Destruction of Property

When a person is charged with crimes related to the destruction of property, frequently, in addition any fines, probation, or prison sentence, they may be ordered to pay for repairing or replacing the property. Sometimes, offenders may even be ordered to clean up their own messes, such as in vandalism cases. In the criminal justice system, this is referred to as restitution.

However, in addition to the restitution, a victim whose property has been destroyed can also bring a civil action against the perpetrator for property damage. Under the law, a person cannot double-dip, but may be able to recover for items not compensated for by a criminal restitution order, or may be able to trigger a defendant's personal liability insurance policy's coverage for the destruction.

How to Handle a Warrant

If you know you have a warrant out for your arrest, any attorney would likely advise you to consult with an experienced criminal attorney.

If you look at Rockman's situation, she turned herself in, was arraigned, and released on a rather small bail relatively quickly. Being represented by an attorney before ever being arrested can be a big help. If a person is aware of an active warrant for their arrest, they may be able to negotiate a favorable surrender.

In some scenarios, frequently when it is a bench warrant, a person can avoid arrest and booking entirely if they retain an attorney to clear up the matter.

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