Charged With Vandalism Crimes in San Diego?

According to California Penal Code Section 594, vandalism crimes are defined as “maliciously damaging, destroying, or defacing someone else’s property.” Some get their first taste of vandalism crimes in high school, perhaps as a “senior prank.” Be careful, however, because pranks can quickly escalate into vandalism crimes if it includes damaging someone’s property.

Damage does not have to be permanent to constitute it as vandalism. For instance, throwing eggs or “toilet papering” someone’s tree or house are both considered vandalism crimes, even though they can be cleaned up. Prosecutors charge vandalism crimes as misdemeanors or felonies, depending on prior convictions and the amount of damage done.

Vandalism Crimes as Felony or Misdemeanor

Crimes charged as misdemeanors are typically for damages under $400. Crimes charged as felonies are typically for damages over $400, but not always. This is considered a “wobbler” crime. Wobbler crimes are filed differently depending on the severity of the crime, and the defendant’s criminal history.

Penalties for felony vandalism crimes are typically either probation, up to one year in county jail, or a jail sentence between 16 to 36 months. There is a maximum fine of $10,000, or $50,000 if the amount of the damage done exceeded $10,000.

There are specific prohibitions for certain types of vandalism crimes. For instance, one shall not vandalize places of worship, cemeteries, freewayrs or highways, or the sentence could be greater than usual. Also, vandalism involving dangerous chemicals (such as acid), is mention in Penal Code Sec. 594.4, and could also add length to a sentence.

Parents Charged with Vandalism Crimes Due to Child’s Behavior

Juveniles who commit vandalism crimes might make their parents responsible, too. Parents might be ordered to community service, or forced to pay fines or restitution. That is just one good reason to keep a good eye on your children, and make sure their pranks don’t become dangerous and egregious.

Taibi Law Center has over 25 years experience dealing with a wide range of vandalism and graffiti-based crimes. We have helped countless clients, regardless of racial identity, ethnicity, sex, or religion. Our experienced and talented attorneys and staff will give you the best representation in San Diego. Taibi Law Center can help you in complex cases. We’ve helped victims of mistaken identity, false accusations, or accidental property damage.


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