How serious is vandalism as a crime?

Chuck Smith Attorney at Law

In California, vandalism happens every day. Spray painting is a common form. In some cases, heavier damage may occur. Today we will take a look at how serious vandalism is as a crime. Can it cost you money? Can it even put you in jail? Today we will find out. 

First of all, vandalism must be willful. This means you join in with the intention of harming the property. Altering, defacing or even destroying the property also counts. Though “tagging” or spray painting is one of the most common examples of vandalism, it is not the only one. Other examples include: 

  • Breaking windows 
  • Scraping paint from a car 
  • Egging a car or house 
  • Defacing park benches 
  • Tire slashing 
  • Knocking down or altering street signs 

Even if you use your hands and feet to damage property, it can count as vandalism. As long as you harmed property with the intent to do this harm, it is an act of vandalism. 

Vandalism is often a misdemeanor. In more severe cases, it is a felony. Courts decide this based on what the person vandalized and what the vandalism was. For example, spray painting a swastika on a place of religion is also a hate crime. Courts take this more seriously than a teenager egging his neighbor’s house. Depending on severity, convicted individuals may face steep fines and time in jail. They may also take part in reparations, such as programs that clean up other acts of vandalism. 

If you want to look more into property crimes, visit our linked web page here. You can look at what types of crimes are property crimes. You can also view potential penalties for the conviction of those crimes. 

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