In California, the crime of Vandalism is defined under California Penal Code 594(a) as maliciously damaging, defacing with graffiti or other inscribed material, or destroying any real or personal property not his or her own. Real property can include vehicles, signs, fixtures, furnishings, or property belonging to any public entity, or the federal government. The severity of punishment for a Vandalism charge largely depends on the nature and extent of the damage caused, as well as the defendant’s prior criminal history.
Is Vandalism a Felony or Misdemeanor?
Vandalism is classified as a “wobbler” offense in California, making the offense eligible to be charged as a felony or misdemeanor. The felony versus misdemeanor determination is based on the amount of destruction or defacement, and whether the cost of repair exceeds $400. Vandalism charges resulting in over $400 in damage could be prosecuted as felony crimes at the DA’s discretion.