Graffiti Offenses and Penalties
While graffiti may seem like a fairly harmless act, it is taken seriously as a criminal offense in the state of Florida. Anyone who marks, “tags”, or otherwise defaces property that she or he doesn’t own commits the crime of vandalism. Vandalism to property can be costly to remove or repair. If you are arrested for graffiti in Florida, you will be charged with criminal mischief as a misdemeanor or felony offense.
For sound legal advice and assistance regarding your criminal mischief charges, don’t hesitate to contact the West Palm Beach criminal attorneys of Eric N. Klein & Associates, P.A. today at 561-353-2800.
A first-time offender who causes only a small amount of damage is typically charged with a second degree misdemeanor offense. A small degree of damage is usually considered to be damage valued at less than $200. A first-time offense that causes more than $200 worth of damage may result in a more severe first degree misdemeanor charge.
For individuals with a history of criminal mischief or other offenses, getting arrested for graffiti damage of $1,000 or more could result in a felony charge. A felony for vandalism is a serious charge that could remain on your criminal record for life, branding you as a felon and severely limiting your personal and professional life.
Criminal Mischief Penalties
Whether it is classified as a misdemeanor or a felony, a criminal mischief conviction can be costly. If you are convicted of a criminal mischief misdemeanor for graffiti, you may be sentenced with the following punishments:
- Fine of $250 or more for a first conviction
- Restitution to pay for the damage caused by the graffiti
- Community service
If convicted of a criminal mischief felony, the following penalties may apply:
- Up to 5 years in prison
- Up to $5,000 in fines
- Additional fines of up to $500 for a second graffiti conviction or up to $1000 for a third graffiti conviction
- Restitution for damages
- Community service
- Probation / parole
If you have been charged with criminal mischief for a graffiti offense, you face the possibility of being sentenced with costly penalties that could affect your current and future opportunities. It is therefore important to contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to help you prepare your case for court. A criminal defense lawyer will protect your rights under the law and will aggressively fight to defend your case against an overzealous prosecution.
For any criminal charge, your personal freedoms and reputation are at stake, which are too important to relinquish without a fight. To speak to an experienced attorney about preparing your defense, please contact the West Palm Beach criminal defense lawyers of Eric N. Klein & Associates, P.A. today at 561-353-2800.