November 2, 2015 By Paul Wallin

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3 Defenses An Attorney Can Use If You Are Facing Vandalism Charges In Orange County – California Penal Code 594

What you think is a harmless prank could actually result in serious criminal charges against you. It’s Halloween and you decided to egg your friend’s house as a joke. This is harmless, right? You and your college roommate prank a rival university by removing parts of the founder’s statue and spray painting in your school’s colors. This seems like just a fun college prank, right?

The reality is that you could face vandalism charges under PC 594 if you commit what you think is a harmless prank. That is when you need to speak to an experienced attorney about what valid defenses you have to vandalism charges in California.

What is Vandalism?

California Penal Code 594 states that every person who maliciously defaces with graffiti or other inscribed material, damages, and/or destroys any real or personal property that does not belong to him or her is guilty of vandalism. You are acting with “malicious” intent when you intentionally commit a wrongful act or act with the unlawful intent to annoy or injure someone else.

If the damage caused by your vandalism exceeds $400, the prosecutor could charge the vandalism as a felony. If the damage caused by your vandalism does not exceed $400, you will likely be charged with a misdemeanor.

3 Best Defenses to Vandalism Charges

vandalism charges in Orange County
Our attorneys know the defenses to vandalism charges in Orange County.

Your Wallin & Klarich vandalism defense attorney can raise one of the following defenses on your behalf:

1) You lacked the “malicious” intent to vandalize

  • You may not be prosecuted under PC 594 if you acted unintentionally or otherwise lacked the intent required to “maliciously” deface, damage, or destroy property.
  • Example: You were driving your vehicle late at night. While driving in a residential area, a cat darted across the street in front of your car. You attempted to swerve around the cat and hit a mailbox with your car. Although you damaged another person’s real property, you did not do so with the required “malicious” intent.

2) You were the owner of the damaged, defaced, or destroyed property

  • You have a valid defense to a vandalism charge under PC 594 if you were the owner of the damaged property. Under PC 594, the real or personal property in question must belong to another individual for you to be convicted of vandalism.
  • Example: You decided to cut the lemon tree in your front yard. Since the tree was located on your real property, you may not be convicted of vandalism. If another individual, such as a stranger, cut the tree without your permission, then he or she may potentially face criminal liability under PC 594.

3) You had consent from the owner

  • If the owner of the real or personal property gave you consent to deface, destroy, or damage the property, then you may not be convicted of vandalism.
  • Example: You hired a contractor to drain your pool. You cannot claim that the contractor vandalized your property by removing all of the water since you gave him or her consent to complete this action.

Accused of Vandalism in Orange County? Call Wallin & Klarich Today

At Wallin & Klarich, our skilled vandalism attorneys have been successfully defending our clients facing criminal charges for over 40 years. If you are accused of vandalism in Orange County, you need to speak with one of our skilled criminal defense attorneys immediately. Our vandalism attorneys know the valid legal defenses to use to help you avoid a conviction for vandalism.

With offices located in Orange County, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside, Sherman Oaks, West Covina, Torrance, Ventura and Victorville, our skilled criminal lawyers can help you achieve the best possible result in your case no matter where you work or live.

Call our offices today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.

AUTHOR: Paul Wallin

Paul Wallin is one of the most highly respected attorneys in Southern California. His vast experience, zealous advocacy for his clients and extensive knowledge of many areas of the law make Mr. Wallin a premiere Southern California attorney. Mr. Wallin founded Wallin & Klarich in 1981. As the senior partner of Wallin & Klarich, Mr. Wallin has been successfully representing clients for more than 30 years. Clients come to him for help in matters involving assault and battery, drug crimes, juvenile crimes, theft, manslaughter, sex offenses, murder, violent crimes, misdemeanors and felonies. Mr. Wallin also helps clients with family law matters such as divorce and child custody.

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