California Vandalism Defense FAQs
1. Can I still be charged with vandalism even if the damage was not permanent?
Yes, damage does not need to be permanent to constitute vandalism under California Penal Code 594. For example, writing on a glass window with a marker pen was punishable defacement under the statute. See In re Nicholas Y. (2000) 85 Cal.App.4th 941, 944 [102 Cal.Rptr.2d 511].
2. Can I get my charge reduced?
It is important that you speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney. The attorney will first try to get the case dismissed. If the case cannot get dismissed, the attorney may be able to obtain a reduced charge. For vandalism, an attorney can help you get a felony vandalism charge reduced to a misdemeanor with lighter penalties.
3. Are there any alternatives to getting my driver’s license suspended?
A person who is convicted of vandalism may elect to reduce the period of suspension or delay imposed by the court by performing community service under the supervision of the probation department.
The period of suspension or delay ordered shall be reduced at the rate of one day for each hour of community service performed.
In addition, your attorney should seek a plea bargain agreement that does NOT include a suspended license.
4. Can I be charged with vandalism if the damaged property was owned by me and someone else?
Yes, it is considered vandalism if you are a co-owner of property and you damage/deface the property without the other co-owner’s consent.
5. Can the prosecution charge a misdemeanor even if the damage is over $400?
A prosecutor has wide latitude to charge a person with a misdemeanor vandalism even though the alleged damage is technically over $400 and a skilled attorney can try to convince the prosecutor that a misdemeanor charge is more appropriate.
6. Can I be charged with gang enhancements for tagging?
You can be charged with gang enhancements for tagging if the prosecution alleges that you were tagging for the benefit of a street gang and you were in fact a member of this gang.
7. Can I be charged with vandalism for breaking or destroying my own property?
If you share that property with someone else, then you can be charged with vandalism.
8. Can I lose my driver’s license for committing vandalism?
A judge can condition a term of your probation to include a driver’s license suspension of up to two years. If you do not have a license then the court will order the DMV to delay issuing you a license for not less than one year nor more than three years once you become legally eligible to drive.
9. Can I be sentenced to jail for misdemeanor vandalism?
Even if you are charged with causing damage to personal property with a value of less than $400 you can be sentenced up to one year in county jail.
10. Can I lose my driver’s license for committing vandalism?
Yes, a judge can condition a term of your probation to include a driver’s license suspension of up to two years. the court shall order the department to delay issuing the privilege to drive for not less than one year nor more than three years subsequent to the time the person becomes legally eligible to drive.
11. Does the penalty get worse if I have a prior conviction for vandalism?
If you have two prior convictions and were either incarcerated or granted probation in one of those cases then you must serve a jail or prison sentence in the current case.
Contact Criminal Defense Attorney Wallin & Klarich Today:
If you or a loved one has been charged with Vandalism in California, call the Grafitti Defense Attorney Wallin and Klarich today.
With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, San Diego, West Covina, Torrance, and Victorville, there is an experienced and skilled Wallin & Klarich criminal defense attorney available to help you no matter where you are located.
Contact our offices today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (714) 730-5300 for a free, no-obligation phone consultation. We will get through this together.