Vandalism Defense Attorney Los Angeles
If you or or a loved one is charged with vandalism – whether it be tagging or graffiti or defacing property – the punishments can be severe. Depending on the extent of the damage, a person accused of vandalism could be charged with a felony, face extensive fines, time in the county jail, and in some cases state prison and a “strike” under California’s three strikes law.
If you are the parent of a minor who is convicted of vandalism, you will be financially responsible for the damage your child caused. This is why it is important to retain a qualified criminal defense lawyer to handle your vandalism or tagging case.
Types of Vandalism Offenses
- Breaking a window or door
- Etching or carving into a piece of glass or wood such as a table, chair, desk or bench.
- Tagging with markers (“tips”) or paint.
- Intentionally damaging somebody else’s property including mailboxes, cars, plants, lawn or other personal property.
Felony Vandalism Charges
To be found guilty of vandalism, the prosecution must prove that a person maliciously defaced, damaged, or destroyed somebody else’s property without their permission. See California Penal Code Section 594(b)(1).
If the amount of the damage comes to $400 or more or if the person charged has a prior criminal record or if there are allegations the vandalism was done as a “hate crime”, the offense can be prosecuted as a felony. In cases of extreme damage or repeated offenses, a person accused of felony vandalism is facing time in county jail or state prison and fines of up to $10,000. If convicted of tagging or graffiti offense, there will be special conditions of probation regarding paying for repairs of the damaged property, and requirements to participate in graffiti cleanup programs.
Gang Related Vandalism
Additionally, if the prosecution believes that the tagging was done to further the activities of a criminal street gang, then a felony will be filed and a person could be charged with a “strike” under California’s three strikes law.
If you or a loved on are in this situation, please contact us. We are criminal defense lawyers with experience and expertise in handling felony vandalism cases with gang enhancements.
Misdemeanor Vandalism Charges
If the damage is less than $400, then only a misdemeanor offense will be charged. charged. Misdemeanor vandalism carries the possibility of time in county jail, probation, community labor, and fines. If convicted of a misdemeanor tagging or graffiti offense, there will be additional conditions of probation participation in graffiti cleanup program and fines ranging from $1,000 to $5,000, depending on whether or not this is a first offense. A qualified criminal defense attorney can help you avoid these harsh consequences.
Possession of Tagging or Graffiti Tools
Under California Penal code Section 594.2, if a person is found with marker that has a tip that is more than 3/8″ wide or a “similar implement” that is filled with ink that can’t wash off with water and intends to use that marker for tagging or graffiti, that person can be convicted of a misdemeanor.
The same goes for possession of etching tools, drill bits, glass cutters, spray paint containers (yes, this can even include fire extinguishers). But remember, possession of these materials is not enough for a conviction, the prosecution must prove that someone intended to use these materials for tagging.
Vandalism Defense Attorney
Vandalism cases in Los Angeles are aggressively prosecuted and require expert legal representation to defend successfully. If you or a loved one are facing vandalism charges, we can help.
CALL THE LAW OFFICES OF JEROD GUNSBERG
AT (310) 210-0744 FOR A FREE CONSULTATION.