Vandalism is something that happens when property is damaged. It happens when somebody carves their name into a public bench or table, keying a vehicle, breaking the windows of a building, knocking over grave markers, and more. There are many elements that are considered in vandalism crimes, and many penalties that can result from these crimes. We will take a closer look today.

Elements of Vandalism

There are many elements that dictate whether a crime is actually vandalism and when it isn’t. Here are some of the ways you can determine this:

  • It is only considered vandalism when there is physical damage. This means something like graffiti on a building or carving on a bench. Without this element yet, it is probably not vandalism, because it is not permanent.
  • The property must have also been owned by somebody else. You can’t commit vandalism when you decide to spray paint your own fence in your yard. You also can’t be charged if you have been given permission.
  • The acts must be intentional. For instance, if you accidentally spill paint on a bench owned by somebody, it was an accident and not intentional. It would be difficult to prove that you committed a crime, even though you still might be liable to replace the destroyed property.

Penalties for Vandalism

Most acts of vandalism are very serious but are not serious enough to be considered felonies. This means that they are not charged as harshly as felonies, and you might find lesser fines and less time in prison than if you had received a felony. Even so, you could still see a year or more in state prison when you have caused extreme destruction to another person’s property. Sometimes, it also depends on the worth of the item that has been destroyed as well.

Have you been accused of vandalism and you believe the penalties stacked up against you are unfair because you didn’t commit the crime you were accused of? You have options. Contact us today at the Law Office of Peter Blair to find out how we can assist you.