Graffiti is a lesser type of vandalism that Texas criminal defense attorneys deal with in their practices.
As harmless as it may seem, it is still considered as the destruction of private or public property and can result in criminal charges against those accused of doing it.
Defense attorneys warn that the Texas legal system sometimes deals with graffiti rather harshly.
If you’ve been caught drawing graffiti somewhere, it’s best that you seek the services of a criminal defense lawyer to represent you.
Graffiti Is Vandalism and Subject to Criminal Charges
Vandalism is the unlawful destruction or defacement of property that belongs to someone else; graffiti is considered a lesser form of vandalism.
Whether it is done to private property or public property owned by the city, criminal defense attorneys warn that drawing graffiti on property you do not own without permission is against the law and could result in criminal charges being filed against you.
What Are the Penalties for Defacing Property with Graffiti?
If you are caught drawing graffiti and criminally charged in Texas, the penalties that you could face will differ depending on whether you are under or over 18:
- Juvenile Charges - Defense attorneys find that in most cases, anyone under the age of 18 and found guilty of graffiti vandalism is judged through the juvenile court system and typically face three outcomes: dropped charges if the juvenile is a younger child; informal adjudication that includes penalties such as community service; and formal charges that can include fines, probation, and more.
- Adult Charges - Criminal defense lawyers find that most graffiti charges against adults are considered misdemeanors and subject to a wide range of penalties depending on the destruction severity, cost to repair, 1st or 2nd offense, and others. Penalties could include fines of up to $4,000 with up to 180 days in jail for the most severe cases or lower penalties of only $500 with no jail time for minor or first offenses.
Criminal defense attorneys do warn that extreme cases of graffiti that cause more than $2,500 in damage can be charged as felonies that carry more significant penalties.
A state jail felony could result in up to 2 years in jail and $10,000 in fines and a first-degree felony with upwards of $300,000 or more in damages could bring 5 years to life in a Texas prison and up to $10,000 in fines.
Graffiti In Texas - It's Not Worth It!
The penalties for graffiti vandalism in Texas can be harsh if there is a high level of damage done.
Although criminal defense lawyers work to get charges reduced, the bottom line is simply that any type of vandalism is illegal and not worth the risk.
If you have been caught defacing property by drawing graffiti, find an experienced defense attorney who can provide a strong defense and negotiate for a favorable outcome to your case!
Reynaldo Garza, III
680 East St. Charles St, Suite 600
Brownsville TX 78520