California vandalism laws punish activities that damage, destroy, or deface with graffiti or other inscribed material any real or personal property owned by someone else. This damage must be malicious, which means that only intentional acts of destruction, damage, or graffiti are punished.
In addition to the laws against vandalism itself there are associated prohibitions. California law bans:
The violation of these prohibitions is a misdemeanor. All include provisions permitting community service or graffiti cleanup activities in addition to the usual misdemeanor punishments.
The following is an overview of California vandalism laws:
|Statutes||California Penal Code, Part 1, Title 14, Malicious Mischief|
California vandalism laws punish differently depending on the value of the property damage as follows:
Some acts of vandalism are considered to be more serious than others. The following circumstances can result in enhanced penalties:
Furthermore, those previously convicted of vandalism on two or more separate occasions and incarcerated on at least one occasion shall be punished by imprisonment in county jail or state prison for up to a year.
Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Get a Legal Review of Your Vandalism Charges
If you have been accused of vandalism you may be subjected to stiff fines, long terms of community service, and even imprisonment. If your child was accused of vandalism they may face punishment, but you may be also. Parents can be forced to pay fines and participate in graffiti cleanup efforts. Regardless of the circumstances, a vandalism conviction can be an embarrassment. Consider getting a free evaluation of your legal situation by a local attorney.
Contact a qualified attorney.