Vandalism

Vandalism is defined in Penal Code Section 594 as a malicious act that destroys, damages, or defaces with graffiti any real or personal property. Examples of vandalism include spraying graffiti on a freeway or building, breaking the window of a car, destroying a statue or other piece of artwork, damaging a cemetery headstone, defacing a park bench, or any other act that meets the law's broad definition.

California law brings severe penalties for acts of vandalism - including fines, jail or prison time, restitution, and even loss of driving privileges. If you've been charged with vandalism, contact me online or call me at (916) 442-1200 to discuss your case.

Misdemeanor v. Felony Vandalism
Acts of vandalism that cause less than $400 worth of damage are generally classified as misdemeanors. Punishments include jail time of up to one year and/or fines up to $1,000.

Vandalism that causes damage worth $400 or more is charged as a felony. Penalties include time in state prison or county jail up to one year and fines up to $50,000 depending on the dollar value of the damage. In addition, prior convictions for vandalism can cause a misdemeanor act of vandalism to be bumped up to a felony.

Clean Up of Graffiti - Restitution to Local GovernmentsPenal Code Section 594 also allows the court to order a person convicted of graffiti vandalism to clean up or repair the damaged property and keep the property graffiti free for one year. Other forms of community service may be required at the court's discretion.

In addition, a new state law designates as a "victim" the city or county in which graffiti vandalism takes place, giving the locality the opportunity to seek restitution from graffiti taggers to pay for clean-up, repair, restoration, or replacement of damaged property.

Loss of Driving Privilege for Vandalism
Conviction of vandalism also results in suspension of driving privileges for up to two years, according to Vehicle Code Section 13202.6. If the convicted person does not yet have a driver's license, the court will order issuance of the license delayed for one to three years after the date the person becomes eligible. Performance of community service - specifically defined as clean up of graffiti - can reduce the suspension or delay.

Free and Confidential Consultation
Vandalism has serious consequences. You need an attorney with the experience to effectively represent your interests and protect your rights. My 20 years experience in criminal law - including past experience as a major crimes prosecutor - helps me provide quality representation for my clients. Call me at (916) 442-1200 for a free and confidential consultation.