Destroying another person’s property without consent qualifies as vandalism. This could include making unnecessary changes, painting graffiti, breaking windows and even hacking into someone’s personal website and making changes. Although some people consider vandalism like graffiti to be artistic, the law does not agree.
In some cases, even carrying an item used for vandalism can be prosecuted by the state. Carrying items like paint cans used for graffiti might lead to a vandalism charge for you. Destroying someone’s private property is considered vandalism. But this law also applies to public property like road signs and park benches.
Although some states cover vandalism in specific statutes, others have included it in their laws as criminal damage, malicious mischief or malicious trespassing. States have tried to control vandalism by reducing the amount of vandalism equipment being sold. Spray paint cans are one of the most commonly used pieces of equipment for vandalizing. Several states have prohibited the purchase or aerosol containers beyond a certain number.
Vandalism can be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor depending on the nature of the violation. But in most minor cases defendants are charged with misdemeanors. Being found guilty of vandalism could result in severe penalties like hefty fines and imprisonment. Those found guilty of vandalism may be ordered to fix whatever property they have vandalized.
If you have been charged with vandalism, it is advisable to contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible. An attorney will try to use defense strategies to get your sentence reduced or dropped.