Graffiti is not a modern concept, and there are many varying opinions on what graffiti is and if it has any worth. For some, graffiti is an art form, while for others, graffiti is nothing more than a criminal act. Legally, graffiti is a crime that is considered to be a form of vandalism. Vandalism refers to damaging another party’s property. The courts take vandalism charges seriously. Due to the harsh penalties that can come with being convicted of a graffiti-related charge, it is important to put together a strong defense if you are facing these, or other vandalism charges.
A vandalism charge will typically result from illegally defacing property, even if the images are intended for artistic purposes. Some gang members and other groups use this form of vandalism as a way to “mark” certain territories. Graffiti images are typically scratched, painted, glued, or otherwise drawn onto surfaces. Exterior walls and bridges are the most common locations for graffiti, but other destructive acts, such as drawing on bathroom stalls, can be considered illegal.
A sentence for a graffiti related charge will depend on two factors. The first is the monetary damage it caused. If the damages were minimal, a person convicted of defacing property may only receive a misdemeanor. A charge may become a felony, however, if the monetary damage was extreme. defacing property such as a place of worship, school, monument, or another government property may also lead to felony charges.
There are several ways to defend against a vandalism charge. Many people are falsely accused of this act. If this is the case, there may not be enough evidence to justify a conviction. Sentences may also be negotiated. First time offenders may be able to secure significantly reduced sentences or have the charges against them dismissed altogether.