Haddonfield Criminal Lawyers Discuss the Criminal Consequences of Graffiti
Graffiti crimes are common, especially in more populated areas such as big cities. Every state, and oftentimes individual municipalities, has their own laws that consider it a crime to spray graffiti on both public and private properties without permission. Getting caught spraying graffiti may seem like a minor problem; however, the consequences are often more severe than one may have anticipated. There are many variables about the crime that will determine the charges given; the main difference being whether or not the crime was committed by an adult or a juvenile. It is important to be aware of the potential consequences and what is likely to happen if an adult or juvenile is caught spraying graffiti.
Adult Consequences for Vandalism in NJ
If you are an adult and you are caught spraying graffiti, the penalties depend greatly on the circumstances of the case. The laws of whichever state the crime took place in will be a determining factor, as well as if there are any others set by the specific city or town. Oftentimes, city graffiti and vandalism ordinances will require a fine. Others can include community service, probation and even jail time. State laws are also applied to graffiti cases and these usually have more serious consequences. The state laws often determine that the fines will vary depending on previous convictions of the same crime, the size and location of the graffiti and whether it was private or public property.
Juvenile Consequences for Vandalism in New Jersey
Anyone who is under the age of 18 and caught spraying graffiti is considered a juvenile and therefore dealt with by the juvenile justice system. The same variables that determine the severity of regular adult criminal cases (previous offenses, location and size) apply to the type of charge the juvenile will face. However, juveniles often have a little more leeway than adults when charged with crimes graffiti and vandalism. When a juvenile is charged with graffiti related crimes, the case usually has one of three outcomes that are reflective of its circumstances.
- Formal Charges– In the most serious cases, juveniles will have to attend a trial, much like that of an adult criminal trial. Evidence will be presented and if determined guilty (delinquent) by a judge they will be charged. This will result in either a fine, mandated counseling, probation, monetary payment for damages to property owner, time in a juvenile detention center or another form of punishment set by the judge.
- Informal Charges– The juvenile court can determine a set of actions for the juvenile to perform that will result in proper retribution for the crime committed. This includes community service or a form of informal probation; however, there can be other qualifications the juvenile must meet in order for the case to be dismissed.
- Dropped Charges– If a juvenile is very young, a first time offender, has already shown remorse and a likelihood to not do it again, they are likely to have their charges dropped. It is often that one or a combination of these and other attributes of their circumstances will result in the case being dismissed.
Caught Spraying Graffiti in NJ? Contact Haddonfield Criminal Lawyers at The Law Offices of Michele Finizio
Our team of Haddonfield criminal lawyers at the Law Offices of Michele Finizio is very knowledgeable about the local and state laws surrounding graffiti and vandalism charges and will work to ensure the best possible outcome for your case. Our conveniently located offices are in Moorestown, New Jersey in the Cherry Hill area to serve clients throughout South Jersey, including Camden County, Burlington County, Atlantic County, Mercer County, Gloucester County, Cape May County and Salem County. Call us today at 856-242-7300 or contact us online.