Vandalism is a broad term that can cover a range of allegedly criminal activities. In Texas, vandalism is often associated with criminal mischief and graffitiing. This post will introduce these crimes and their consequences, but no part of this post should be interpreted as legal guidance or advice.
What is criminal mischief?
Criminal mischief is a property-based crime that can concern many different allegedly illegal activities. It involves the destruction of or harm to property owned by others. For example, throwing eggs at a neighbor’s house may be an act of criminal mischief if the act of throwing eggs breaks a window or causes other monetary losses to the property owner.
Generally, accidents that result in property damage are not crimes of criminal mischief. A charge of criminal mischief requires a prosecutor to show that the alleged defendant intended to perform the actions that led to the alleged victim’s property losses. When a person inadvertently harms the property of someone else, they cannot be said to have intentionally inflicted property damages on the alleged victim.
What is graffitiing?
Like criminal mischief, graffitiing is a property crime. It involves making marks or drawings on the property of another person without that property owner’s consent. Graffiti can be made through carving, etching, painting, or marking items or structures of property. Graffitiing is an intentional act, and as such, accidental marking of another’s property may serve as a defense to the charge.
The amount of damage that a person is said to have caused to their alleged victim will dictate how serious of a penalty they will face for their vandalism conviction. While damages that do not exceed $100 may result only in fines, extensive damages from vandalism can result in felony convictism and time in Texas state jails.
Vandalism is a seemingly minor Texas crime that can carry significant sanctions. Juveniles that have been charged with vandalism and related crimes can get help. They and their families can reach out to criminal defense attorneys in their communities.