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Attorney Christopher T. Adams

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What is considered vandalism?

If you or a loved one has been charged with vandalism, it is likely you may be wondering what the definition of vandalism is. Vandalism occurs when property is destroyed or defaced without permission. The penalties for vandalism can be significant and can include imprisonment and fines. What exactly is considered vandalism can include a number of activities such as breaking windows, damaging vehicles, graffiti or may include damaging or destroying a website.

In general, vandalism refers to willful behavior that is aimed at the destruction, alteration or defacing of property that belongs to another. Vandalism may be alleged when an individual has spray painted the property of another to deface it, defaced public property with graffiti, defaced a park bench, engaged in egging a vehicle or a window, keyed or otherwise scratched a vehicle, slashed the tires of a vehicle, altered or otherwise removing street signs, broken a window or otherwise damaged the property of another. Possessing the means to commit vandalism may also result in vandalism charges.

Vandalism laws can vary by state. Depending on the laws of the state, vandalism can be a misdemeanor or felony offense. In addition to jail time and fines, individuals charged with vandalism may also be required to perform restitution to clean, repair or replace the defaced or damaged property. Defenses to vandalism charges can include that it was an accident, simply mischief or creative expression. Additional criminal defense options may also be available depending on the circumstances to ensure the rights of the accused individual are protected.

In any circumstances when criminal charges are involved, criminal defense options are available to an individual accused of a crime. The criminal justice system provides protections for accused individuals just as it seeks to protect the public so it is important for any individual accused of a crime to be familiar with criminal defense options and how they can help them.

Source:, “Vandalism,” Accessed July 11, 2016


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