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.
Punishment for Vandalism In California
The penalties for Vandalism in California can vary in severity and the range of punishments can include imprisonment in the county jail for up to 1 year, probation, community service, and a criminal record. In addition to the penalties mentioned above, the criminal court can impose significant fines up to $1,000 for misdemeanor convictions, up to $10,000 for felony convictions, or up to $50,000 for felony convictions in which the damages exceed $10,000 to repair.
PC 594(a) charges in California are also considered priorable offenses. Therefore, the punishment can be further enhanced if the defendant has prior Vandalism convictions.
Facing Vandalism Charges in California? Contact Our Law Office Today For a Free Consultation
If you or a loved one has been arrested for Vandalism in Southern California, contact our law firm today for a no-cost case review. Our criminal defense attorneys have successfully defended hundreds of Vandalism cases in both adult and juvenile court throughout Los Angeles, Orange, and Ventura County for over 3 decades. Call us now at (866) 430-8383 or contact us online to learn how we can help.