Tag You’re It! — Graffiti Charges are Serious Business in Collin County by Bo Kalabus

By Bo Kalabus
bo@kalabuslaw.com
Office: 972-562-7549
Collin County 24 Hour Jail Release 214-402-4364
www.rosenthalwadas.com

Kids screw around. It’s part of being a kid–and they all do it. I was no exception either and I have found memories of pushing the legal envelope with my buddies growing up. However, sometimes just screwing around can get you into serious trouble. Graffiti is one of those things that can get you in pretty deep in the eyes of the law.

So what is graffiti for starters? Well, it is when a person, without effective consent of the owner, intentionally or knowingly makes markings, inscriptions, slogans, drawings, or paintings on the owner’s property with aerosol paint, indelible or permanent marker, or an etching or engraving device. The penalties for graffiti are stiff because when lawmakers think graffiti, they think its gang related. And let’s face it; no one wants gangs wreaking havoc on the community.

As you can expect, the level of punishment is based on the amount of damaged caused. Essentially, if the amount of damage is less than $500, it’s a Class B Misdemeanor ($0-$2,000 fine and up to 180 days in jail). If the loss is $500-$1500, it’s a Class A Misdemeanor ($0-$4,000 and up to 1 year in jail). $1,500 to 20,000 is a State Jail Felony ($0-$10,000 and 180 days up to 2 years in jail). Graffiti is an automatic state jail felony, even if the damage is under $20,000, if it involves a school, church, cemetery, public monument, or community center, so this offense can get really serious really quick. $20,000-100,000 is a 3rd Degree Felony ($0-$10,000 and 2 up to 10 years in jail). $100-200,000 is a 2nd Degree Felony ($0-$10,000 and 2 up to 20 years in jail). And finally, over $200,000 is a 1st Degree Felony (($0-$10,000 and 5 up to 99 years in jail).

Think about that for a second-if you rack up a lot of money damage tagging cars buildings, bridges, motorhomes, etc., you could be potentially looking at life in prison.

If you are charged with a graffiti offense, you should consult a lawyer to discuss the best way to defend the matter to help get your life and record back on track.

 

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