The defacement of property is not something to be taken lightly. Many law enforcement organizations have begun cracking down on graffiti (“tagging”) and other such acts of vandalism. Much attention has been placed on preventing such acts as the costs of repairing and replacing damaged property can be staggering. Vandalism penalties can be severe, including the loss of driving privileges for up to 2 years (or a delay to receive a license for up to 3 years) fines of more than $10,000, and lengthy community service. Additionally, a conviction for vandalism may carry a three-year sentence behind bars.
Vandalism can be classified as a misdemeanor or a felony. These terms are determined by various factors including the type of property damaged, the cost of repair, and the perpetrator’s existing criminal record. The law also views the defacement of schools, churches, synagogues, cemeteries, government property and law enforcement vehicles as particularly offensive; this may increase the severity of the charges to a felony. Law enforcement may also file a felony charge if the crime is considered to be gang-related.
If you or someone you know has been arrested for or accused of vandalism, graffiti or the defacement of property, it is crucial to consult and enlist the services of a skilled and aggressive defense attorney.