Avoiding Vandalism Charges
According to the California Vandalism Law under, Penal Code section 594, if it doesn't belong to you and you deface it, destroy or harm it without the owner's authorization, you may possibly have committed the crime of vandalism. While subway graffiti, keying a parked car or defacing a road sign may seem inconsequential, these crimes qualify as vandalism by California lawmakers whom are determined to bring an end to vandalism throughout the state.
Knowledgeable and experienced lawyers at our criminal law firm can usually get a reduction in fines or a total dismissal of vandalism charges, depending on the circumstances. If you have been charged with vandalism, we urge you to get in touch with a San Diego criminal defense lawyer at Brian Watkins and Associates as soon as possible so that we could review the charges against you and help you decide your best program of action.
Vandalism Defense Lawyer in San Diego
Vandalism charges may be prosecuted as either misdemeanors or felonies based on the surrounding circumstances. No matter whether the vandalism was committed due to indifference, passed off as juvenile mischief or creative expression, or was triggered by malicious intent, effects can be severe. A first time vandalism offense with harm under $400 is generally charged as a misdemeanor and penalties include no prison time, restitution, fines, community service and three years of probation. If the harm is over $400 and you've got a prior conviction for vandalism, you could be charged with a felony and may be facing county jail or state prison, formal probation, restitution, community solution, hefty fines and in some instances, a one year driver's permit suspension.
In some cases, your misdemeanor vandalism charge can be raised to a felony if you've got a previous criminal record, are a gang user or your offense features hate criminal activity implications. Information technology is crucial to understand that if you are charged with gang improvement, then perhaps not just is your charge a felony but it's a "Strike" against you per the CA Three Strikes Law.
Other Vandalism Crimes
Prominent acts of vandalism in CA include damaging, destroying and defacing schools, churches, cemeteries, mail boxes and engine automobiles. A variety of criminal activities can be associated with vandalism, including these:
- Slashing tires
- Breaking windows
- Damaging benches
- Ripping bus seats
- Toppling headstones
- Etching windows
- Eliminating vehicle emblems
- Carving initials into desks
- Putting graffiti on school walls with paint or permanent marker.
Vandalism is maybe not restricted to the many common property damage crimes seen throughout San Diego and the state of CA. Other crimes prosecuted under the CA Vandalism Law include:
- Possession of aerosol paint containers under age 18 (Penal Code 594.1)
- Possession of vandalism tools (Penal Code 594.2)
- Vandalism to a church or synagogue (Penal Code 594.3)
- Vandalism to government services or cars (Penal Code 640.5)
- Vandalism on or near a highway (Penal Code 640.7)
- Vandalism on a freeway (Penal Code 640.8)
- Vandalism utilizing noxious or caustic chemicals (Penal Code 594.4).
In CA, lawmakers have instituted a vandalism prevention effort and vandals are prosecuted to the complete extent of the legislation. Aggressive representation in your vandalism situation is critically crucial to anybody who is accused of vandalism, particularly whenever charged with a felony. At our company, our lawyers excel at using very early action in vandalism cases to enhance chances of a dismissal or to secure a reduction in costs at the pre-filing phase.