When we think about vandalism, the visual of a gang of latchkey kids spray-painting the walls of a city might immediately come to mind. However, vandalism is a little bit more than that in the eyes of the legal system. The law defines vandalism as the defacing, damaging, or destroying of another’s property.
That property could be the walls of a city or the car of an ex-lover. In California, the crime of vandalism is taken seriously and if found guilty you could be facing a fine, imprisonment or a combination of both. An experienced San Diego arson and property crimes lawyer can help.
Understanding the Penalties for Vandalism
Penalties are generally a representation of the seriousness of a crime and the consequences associated with this crime varies, depending on the monetary value of the damage to the property involved in the vandalism.
- For property damage of $400 or more – In such instances, the crime can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony and can include imprisonment of upwards of three years, maximum fines of $10,000, or both imprisonment and fine depending on the extent of the damage.
Penalties can be viewed as a deterrent, but if you have been charged with vandalism, from the penalties outline, you can see the serious consequences of the crime for which you have been charged. The right San Diego vandalism lawyer will be able to prepare a comprehensive defense to challenge a case of vandalism and prevent a guilty verdict.
Charged with Vandalism – Are You Innocent?
Not everyone charged with the crime of vandalism is guilty. The law presumes that if you are charged with this crime, you are innocent until you are found guilty. The criminal justice system should work to preserve that presumption, and you must hire a lawyer that will help you prepare a defense if your matter goes to trial.
What are the legal defenses available to you, if you are charged with vandalism in San Diego, California?
- Your actions that led to the damage of the property was not a willful one. In some cases, the matter is really a civil issue, because the damage was as a result of an accident.
- You are the victim of a false accusation. In essence, your defense is that you did not vandalize the property in question.
- Someone else was the perpetrator. In cases of assumption by the victim or even mistaken identity, you will have a valid defense that “it wasn’t me”.
Do not attempt to defend yourself. You need a lawyer with an in-depth understanding of the law and the courtroom, to represent you in your vandalism criminal trial. At McElfresh Law, our lawyers are seasoned criminal litigators with years of experience and a desire to secure a not guilty verdict.
You Need a San Diego Vandalism Lawyer on Your Side
Between dealing with the police, being dragged to jail in handcuffs, and appearing before a judge, being arrested and charged with vandalism can be a frightening experience. When you add to that, your strong desire to get back to your family, you have the perfect environment for making a poor decision. However, there is one good decision you should make and that is hiring a lawyer from McElfresh Law as soon as you are charged.
For years, we have been representing clients charged with vandalism and a number of other crimes. We have dedicated our time to understanding how to navigate the system and get the best results for our clients. If charged with vandalism, you will need us on your side. If your matter must go to trial, we will work to give your case a strong defense in San Diego, California.