California Vandalism Laws
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:
- selling, giving, or otherwise providing a minor with any etching cream or aerosol container of paint capable of defacing property without first obtaining evidence of majority and identity;
- the purchase or possession of etching creams or aerosol containers of paint by a minor;
- the open carrying of etching cream or aerosol containers of paint in public areas without valid authorization;
- possession of a masonry or glass drill bit, carbide drill bit, glass cutter, grinding stone, awl, chisel, carbide scribe, aerosol paint can, felt tip marker, or any other marking substance with the intent to commit graffiti.
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.
Let an Attorney Help You Defend Against Your Vandalism Charges
If you've been accused of vandalism you could face stiff fines, long terms of community service, and even imprisonment. If your child was accused of vandalism they may face punishment, but so could you. Parents can be forced to pay fines and participate in graffiti cleanup efforts. Regardless of the circumstances, a vandalism conviction can result in serious harm to your future prospects. Get started by contacting an experienced California defense attorney today.
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