Menu / Navigate
View Our Practice Areas

Can you really be prosecuted for graffiti?

If you are a young California resident thinking about putting some of your “art work” on someone else’s property, you may wish to think again. Section 594 of the California Penal Code defines graffiti as any type of unauthorized design, figure, mark, words or inscription that you paint, draw, etch, write or scratch on someone else’s real or personal property without his or her permission. This includes a building, a vehicle, a sign, or any other kind of property.

California considers graffiti to be a type of malicious mischief known as vandalism. It is a crime for which you can be prosecuted.

Graffiti penalties

If you are convicted of graffiti vandalism amounting to less than $400 and this is your first offense, you could face up to a year in the county jail, a fine of up to $1,000, or both jail and a fine. In addition, the judge could order you to remove your graffiti and repair the damaged property, replacing it if necessary, and/or to keep that property or another designated property graffiti free for up to a year. If this is your second or more graffiti offense, however, your fine could be as much as $5,000.

If you are convicted of graffiti vandalism amounting to more than $400 but less than $10,000, you could face up to a year in the county jail, a fine of up to $10,000, or both. Should the amount of your vandalism be in excess of $10,000, your fine could be as much as $50,000.

If you are a minor and cannot pay your fine yourself, your parents or guardian can be forced to pay it. They likewise could be required to participate in your court-ordered cleanup efforts. This is general information only and is not intended to provide legal advice.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information