In California, there are laws in place to prevent vandalism. Unfortunately, it still occurs. Vandalizing property is a common crime among youths who do not understand the severity of it. However, just how serious are criminal charges for vandalism?

First, it is important to understand that vandalism does not only involve graffiti. This is one of the most popular examples, but acts of vandalism also include:

  • Slashing tires or keying cars
  • Defacing park benches
  • Punching or kicking public property
  • Stealing or altering street signs

You can even face vandalism charges for having the tools to vandalize an area. Even if the vandalism has not yet occurred, the law treats intention to vandalize harshly.

Depending on the type of vandalism that occurred, you could face misdemeanor charges. In worst case scenarios, you may even face a felony charge. More severe crimes involve hate messages or messages targeting protected groups of people. A vandalized church may result in steeper penalties than a vandalized shopping mall.

The more severe the crime, the more severe the potential penalty will be. At the most severe end, you may face time in jail and steep fines. You will also likely take part in reparations. This can include cleaning up the vandalized areas. It can also include joining programs that clean other acts of vandalism, such as graffiti.

If you want to read more about vandalism and how California law treats charges, view the penalties an individual may face if convicted of vandalism-related crimes.