There’s nothing wrong with choosing to change or destroy property – unless it belongs to someone else. In California, maliciously damaging, defacing with graffiti or other inscribed material, or destroying any real or personal property that does not belong to you is considered vandalism. Real property includes signs, furnishings, vehicles, fixtures, or property that belongs to the federal government or a public entity. The consequences of vandalism are dependent upon the specific facts and circumstances of the case as well as the defendant, namely, the severity of the damage and the defendant’s prior criminal history.
How is Vandalism Classified in CA
Vandalism is an offense that may be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony based upon whether the cost to repair the damage is greater than $400. In other words, cases of vandalism in which there is more than $400 in damage may be prosecuted as a felony. It comes down to what the District Attorney decides.
What Are the Consequences of Vandalism in CA?
As previously stated, the consequences of a vandalism conviction in California depend upon the severity of the damage. Penalties can include probation, community service, and time in county jail of up to one year. Additionally, there can be fines of up to $1,000 and $10,000 for misdemeanor and felony convictions respectively. For a felony conviction, if the damage done to another’s property exceeds $10,000 (i.e. it will cost more than $10k to repair), fines could reach up to $50,000.
Vandalism is a Priorable Offense
Another factor that is taken into consideration regarding the consequences of a vandalism conviction in California is the defendant’s prior convictions for vandalism. In other words, vandalism is a priorable offense, so prior convictions for the same crime can result in much more serious or enhanced punishments.
The Law Office of Ronald L. Freeman Helps Those in California Who Have Been Charged with a Crime
If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime in California, you should be sure to take it seriously. Such a charge can have tremendous life-long effects on you, impacting everything from where you can work to where you can live, to what you are allowed to possess. That’s why it is so important to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced San Bernardino and Riverside criminal defense attorney who understands criminal law and can help to walk you through the whole process.
At the Law Office of Ronald L. Freeman, our San Bernardino and Riverside criminal defense attorneys will work to defend your freedom, collect proper evidence to help your case and work hard to have the criminal charges against you dropped or your reduced. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, contact us today!