In: Theft & Property Crimes

What is the law in Texas regarding graffiti charges?

Most residents of Denton has seen graffiti here and there, whether it is on buildings, bridges or fences. While this might seem to be a low level violation of the law, it is something that it can lead to serious consequences. Vandalism and graffiti charges can even rise from a misdemeanor to a felony if the damage to the property is substantial enough.

If a person marks, inscribes, draws, pains or places a slogan on another’s property without the permission of the owner, it will be a violation of the laws against graffiti. The level of charges depends on the amount of monetary loss. It will be a Class C misdemeanor if the loss is less than $100. It will be a Class B misdemeanor if it is $100 or more, but less than $750. It will be a Class A misdemeanor if it is $750 or more, but less than $2,500.

The charge will rise to a level of felony with higher amounts of damage. It will be a third degree felony if the loss is $30,000 or more, but less than $150,000. It will be a second degree felony if it is $150,000 or more and less than $300,000. It will be a first degree felony if is is $300,000 or more. When there is damage to more than a more than one piece of tangible property that belongs to one or more than one owner or is damaged as a part of a continuing series of acts, this can be viewed as one act and the amount of damage can be calculated cumulatively.

It will be a felony if the marking is done to a school or some other institute of higher education, a human burial ground or a place of worship, a public monument, or a community center that provides education, social programs or medical programs and the amount of damage is $750 or more and less than $30,000. A person who is writing graffiti in any way might not realize the level of charges that are possible and the accompanying consequences so severe. A conviction can be a long-term problem and damage the person’s work standing, ability to get into a school and the military. Formulating a strong property crimes defense is imperative to handling these charges and an experienced attorney can help.

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