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Vandalizing property: You could face a felony or misdemeanor

It's easy to be persuaded by others that performing graffiti or defacing property in some way is a good idea. Maybe it's meant to be a joke or wasn't meant to cause harm, but the fact is that vandalism of any type is a criminal act. When you destroy or deface a property without permission, it's considered to be vandalism.

Vandalism isn't just graffiti or breaking windows. It could also include egging someone's vehicle, keying a person's car or the car's windows, spray-painting a property, slashing tires, damaging, knocking down or altering street signs and other acts. Vandalism laws prohibit these acts and are created at the state level. These laws aim to penalize someone convicted of the destruction of property.

These laws are also designed to protect against hate crimes. For example, writing profanity on a Muslim family's home's walls or an African American's car is a hate crime as well as an act of vandalism.

Depending on the severity of the vandalism and the value of the property damage, you could face a number of penalties if you are convicted of vandalism. It can be a misdemeanor or a felony. It's normal for the court to order restitution, which means that you would have to replace or repair the property you have destroyed or damaged.

If you are charged for vandalism, your attorney can help you defend yourself against the allegations. Even if there is evidence against you, you deserve to defend yourself to prevent an unfair bias in court and to protect your right to a fair trial.

Source: FindLaw, "Vandalism," accessed May 26, 2017

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