Vandalism, also known as malicious mischief, is a serious crime in California involving the intentional destruction of the property of another. It is often committed out of anger, boredom, revenge, defiance, or during peer pressured dares or pranks. Though vandalism is a property crime generally considered less serious than a crime against a person, the consequences can be severe in California regardless of arguably mitigating circumstances such as youth, artistic expression, or political demonstration.
“Every person who maliciously commits any of the following acts with respect to any real or personal property not his or her own, in cases other than those specified by state law, is guilty of vandalism: (1) Defaces with graffiti or other inscribed material. (2) Damages. (3) Destroys.”
Examples of acts of vandalism under PC § 594(a) include breaking objects, ransacking property, slashing tires, keying paint, removing car emblems, doing graffiti, and salting lawns.
Additionally, the California penal code has special provisions under sections 594 and 640 covering certain acts of vandalism relating to 1) use of noxious or caustic chemicals, etc.); 2) possession of vandalism tools (aerosol paint, drill bit, glass cutter, chisel, etc); and 3) distinct locations (religious sites, government facilities, highways, etc.).
Vandalism can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or felony, and potentially carry steep fines (from $1,000 to $50,000), jail or prison time, probation, restitution, and community service. The punishments vary greatly depending on the amount of damage, gang enhancements, hate implications and prior convictions. A vandalism conviction leaves you with a permanent criminal record.
If you have been charged with vandalism, you need to contact a law firm that has experience in dealing with these specialized types of cases. The Jacot Law Firm has the expertise and dedication to fight and win your case. Contact attorney Lance Jacot right away for a free consultation. Call toll free 24 hours a day 888-823-4883.