Vandalism in the eyes of the law is not a negligible crime. In fact, you could find yourself facing vandalism charges in situations where you would not expect them. You need to know about vandalism charges and their potentially serious – and often unanticipated – consequences.
What Is Vandalism?
Most people think of graffiti as vandalism. But this is only one category. Penal Code 594 defines vandalism as anything that damages, destroys, or uses inscribed material to deface another’s property. Even crimes that some people may not consider vandalism can bring charges. For instance, keying someone’s car can be considered vandalism if the prosecution can prove that the act was intended and malicious. Another example is accidentally hitting a mailbox in an auto accident, which is not vandalism, versus deliberately hitting the mailbox to get back at a neighbor, which is vandalism.
What Are the Types of Vandalism?
Vandalism punishments depend on the amount of damage done and prior convictions. Therefore, types of vandalism may break down into acts that cause more than $400 of damage and those that result in less. Maximum punishments are harsher for vandalism that results in more expensive damages.
What Are the Consequences of Vandalism?
Vandalism charges that lead to conviction can result in jail time, fines, and cleaning up graffiti. For damages of more than $400 and less than $10,000, punishment can include up to one year in county jail or a fine of up to $10,000. For vandalism that exceeds $10,000 in damages, the court may order both jail time and a fine of up to $50,000.
Vandalism charges for damage less than $400 may result in jail time of up to one year or a fine of up to $1,000, or both. However, if you have a prior conviction and have charges of vandalism causing less than $400, punishment may include jail time up to one year, a fine up to $5,000, or both.
Get Help from Steven K. Bloom If You Face Vandalism Charges
If you have encountered vandalism charges in Orange County, get help from the Law Office of Steven K. Bloom. Attorney Bloom has defended hundreds in his decades of work as a defense lawyer. He knows California law and will put as much effort as he can into giving you a quality defense. Contact him today for an evaluation of your case.