While graffiti can be a great avenue for artistic expression, intentionally vandalizing public or private property is a criminal act with serious consequences. This type of offense falls under the umbrella of property crimes, and California law criminalizes not just the action itself, but those who furnish materials for the purpose of creating graffiti can also find themselves on the wrong side of the law.
For this post, we’re taking a quick look at California’s graffiti laws. Remember, if you have any additional questions or simply want to consult with a qualified criminal defense attorney, you can always contact us directly at the Jacot Law Firm.
Vandalism Carries Steep Criminal Penalties in California
Graffiti laws are defined by California Penal Code section 594, which categorizes graffiti-related offense based on the value of the property that was damaged. If the offense amounts to $400 of damage or less, the crime is categorized as a misdemeanor. When damages tally up to $400 or more, the accused could be charged with a felony.
Felony graffiti charges are grave affairs, and if convicted, an individual could face a fine of up to $10,000 and/or up to one year in prison. These penalties are harsh enough on their own, but they can further be enhanced by additional factors, such as whether the tagging involved any type of hate speech.
Other crimes associated with graffiti laws and vandalism include the purchase of graffiti-related materials by a minor and the furnishing of materials for graffiti-related purposes. Furthermore, items such as etching cream and spray paint cannot be carried in public, not unless you are specifically authorized to do so.
Talk to a California Criminal Defense Attorney
As you can see, vandalism and graffiti laws in California are complicated matters that could lead to serious legal complications. Always stay up to date with the current set of graffiti laws in the state, and if you’re facing graffiti or vandalism-related charges in California, it is vital that you consult with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney.
At the Jacot Law Firm, we offer free initial consultations, no commitment required. To learn more, and to speak with one of our qualified legal professionals, don’t delay and call our offices at your earliest convenience.