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Understanding vandalism charges

We all encounter the property of others; whether it is when we walk into a building, are at a private residence or when we walk in a parking lot. While this might be a common experience in Georgia and other states across the nation. However, when property becomes damaged, individuals in the area might be suspected of doing it. Although property damage occurs in accidents, it could also occur intentionally, resulting in criminal charges against the accused.

When a person is accused of destroying or defacing property, this could result in a vandalism charge. Common examples of vandalism include broken windows, graffiti, damage to a vehicle and even the destruction of a personal or business website.

To some, vandalism might be art. But, even if someone believes that they are creating art, vandalism is considered a property crime and is thus punishable by jail time and fines. Acts that constitute vandalism include spray painting with the purpose of defacing, egging, keying a car, breaking windows, defacing public property, slashing tires, defacing a public bench, altering or knocking down street signs and damaging private or public property.

Those accused of vandalism have defense options. This typically involves strategies that mitigate the charges, such as indifference, accident, mischief or creative expression. And, there are mechanisms to have the charges dropped, which could include unlawful search and seizure, wrong suspect or entrapment.

Being accused of vandalism might seem like a minor charge. Nonetheless, it is a criminal charge that could involve severe penalties, like fines, jail time or both. To avoid these consequences, a defendant should take the time to understand what rights and options they have by consulting an attorney.

Source: Findlaw.com, "Vandalism," accessed on Jan. 6, 2018

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