Vandalism & Defacing Property in Los Angeles

Los Angeles Juvenile Crime Lawyer

Defacing property, also called vandalism, involves damaging real property or personal property in some way. This includes graffiti and may be committed on another’s property (another person’s house or car) or on public property (such as a street sign).

Per California Penal Code § 594, vandalism consists of maliciously defacing, damaging or destroying somebody else's property without their permission. Typical examples in juvenile cases may include:

  • Tagging
  • Graffiti
  • Scratching a car with a key
  • Destroying a letterbox
  • Throwing eggs at houses
  • Breaking windows
  • Slashing tires
  • Carving initials into wood or cement

A juvenile facing vandalism charges may face a number of penalties if he or she is convicted of this offense. It is important to work quickly to consult a Los Angeles juvenile defense attorney if your child has been accused of vandalism. Prevention is a key factor in any juvenile case, as a skilled juvenile lawyer may be able to have charges dropped before the case ever goes to juvenile court.

California Vandalism & Graffiti Penalties

Although vandalism, defacing property and graffiti may be considered lesser juvenile crimes, they may still result in a number of penalties. Specific penalties will depend upon the value of property damage which occurred. When the value is under $400, this is a lesser offense. When the property damage is more than $400, the juvenile will likely face harsher penalties.

These penalties, for a minor, may include:

  • Expulsion from school
  • Fines
  • Paying to have the damaged property repaired
  • Repairing the damaged property him/herself
  • Keeping the previously damaged property, or another designated property in the community, graffiti-free for up to 1 year
  • Counseling
  • Detention in a juvenile facility
  • Note: The minor’s parents may be compelled to pay fines or fees on behalf of the minor, or may be required to help the minor with keeping property graffiti-free.

If your child has a prior criminal record, this can also have a bearing on the outcome of the case. If the prosecution alleges the vandalism was committed to support gang activity, this can result in enhanced charges. Your child may be charged for vandalism even if he or she was only found to be in possession of certain markers or tools typically used in these crimes. For a conviction in this case, however, the prosecution must prove that your child actually intended to use these items to commit vandalism.

In some cases, vandalism can be charged as a felony and involve imprisonment and severe fines. As the parent, you will be responsible for the cost of the damage if your child is convicted on either a misdemeanor or felony charge. A Los Angeles juvenile crime lawyer can take steps to fight against the consequences of your child's felony charges.

Call the Experienced Defense Team of Okabe & Haushalter

When it comes to juvenile crimes, we, Mark Haushalter & Ryan Okabe, are well equipped to fight effectively for justice. Mark Haushalter's prior experience as a prosecutor and Ryan Okabe's time in the Los Angeles County D.A.'s Office provides unique insight into how such cases will be prosecuted. Combined with our familiarity with the California juvenile court system and our legal expertise, we have the resources with which to aggressively defend your child.

If your child has been accused of vandalism, contact a Los Angeles juvenile crime attorney today.

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