Los Angeles Vandalism Attorney
When you hear the term “vandalism,” you likely think of teenagers spray painting the side of a building with obscenities and graphic images. While this action is certainly considered vandalism, the offense is considered a criminal one and covers a wide range of actions in California. If you key someone’s car, smash their mailbox, or write your name in wet cement, you could be found guilty of this crime. The penalties for a vandalism conviction include jail or prison time, large fines, and collateral consequences, so it’s important to contact a vandalism attorney as soon as possible if you’re facing charges for this offense.
Vandalism and the California Penal Code
Per California Penal Code (PC) 594, vandalism is defined as the damage, defacement (with graffiti or other inscribed material), or destruction of any real or personal property that belongs to another. To be punished for a vandalism offense, you had to have malicious intent, meaning you purposely intended to destroy the property of another person.
Common vandalism cases we see include:
Acts that seem innocent may indeed amount to vandalism in California, so it’s important to retain the counsel of a skilled vandalism lawyer as soon as possible if you’re charged with this offense.
Classification of criminal vandalism charges vary. Depending on the value of the property damage you allegedly committed, you can face misdemeanor or felony charges. For damages that are valued at less than $400, you can be charged with a misdemeanor. Property damage that exceeds $400 or more is considered a wobbler, meaning it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony.
If you’re found guilty of vandalism in California, you may face the following:
Under California law, certain acts of vandalism are considered more serious than others, and thus bring with them enhanced sentences. If you vandalize a religious institution, commit vandalism tied to a hate crime, or use harmful chemicals in the commission of a vandalism offense, your jail sentences and fines may increase.
In addition to jail time and fines, you face a number of collateral consequences for a vandalism conviction, including:
Additionally, if you’re convicted of felony vandalism, you could lose your voting rights for a period of time, and lose your right to own a firearm.
Whether you have been charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, you need to contact a vandalism attorney as soon as possible. By working with a lawyer from Spolin Law P.C., you are taking the first important steps to ensuring your rights and freedom remain protected.
Defenses Against Vandalism Charges
Vandalism may seem like an intentional crime, but there are many defenses where it can be argued that the accused did not purposefully mean to deface property. Some possible criminal defenses for vandalism include:
Successfully arguing a strong defense can prove your innocence in a criminal case. If one of the above defenses is delivered by an experienced vandalism lawyer, your case may end in a not-guilty verdict or potentially a dismissal of charges. Contact Spolin Law P.C. today for help with facing vandalism charges.
A Los Angeles Vandalism Attorney Can Help
The quality of your Los Angeles vandalism lawyer can affect your criminal record, determine whether or not you retain certain civil privileges, and can mean the difference between a maximum jail sentence and minimal time served. The criminal defense attorneys at Spolin Law P.C. differ from other legal representation through their persistent negotiation of plea deals, their aggressive defense if your case goes to court, and consistent record of success at trial.