Is Graffiti Considered a Crime Arizona?
While graffiti can be a beautiful form of art and expression, if you tag someone else’s property, it is a crime. In Arizona, graffiti is categorized under the vandalism and criminal damage laws.
What is criminal damage?
Pursuant to A.R.S. §13-1602, criminal damage has a broad scope of meaning. It can be a difficult crime to substantiate because it often lacks enough evidence to link the suspect to the crime—either an eyewitness, surveillance footage, or similar evidential proofs.
According to the City of Phoenix Website, a person commits criminal damage by recklessly or intentionally:
- Defacing or damaging the property of another person.
- Tampering with the property of another person, so as substantially to impair its function or value.
- Damaging the property of a utility.
- Parking any vehicle in such a manner as to deprive livestock of access to the only reasonably available water.
- Drawing or inscribing a message, slogan, sign, or symbol that is made on any public or private building, structure or surface, except the ground, and that is made without permission of the owner.
What is the criminal sentence for graffiti?
According to Arizona law, “Any person convicted of applying graffiti on public or private property may be ordered by the court to either pay for the removal of the graffiti, or personally remove the graffiti by painting over the defaced area, within a specified time. Failure of any person to remove or pay for removal of graffiti constitutes an additional violation.”
Graffiti that damages the property of another in an amount of less than two hundred fifty dollars will be considered a class 2 misdemeanor. However, if you happen to tag a Porche, the amount of damage done may be much higher. The following are the different levels of vandalism/criminal damage:
- Criminal damage is a class 4 felony if the person recklessly damages property of another in an amount of ten thousand dollars or more, or if the person recklessly causes impairment of the functioning of any utility.
- Criminal damage is a class 5 felony if the person recklessly damages property of another in an amount of two thousand dollars or more but less than ten thousand dollars.
- Criminal damage is a class 6 felony if the person recklessly damages property of another in an amount of more than two hundred fifty dollars but less than two thousand dollars.
- Criminal damage is a class 1 misdemeanor if the person recklessly damages property of another in an amount of more than two hundred fifty dollars but less than one thousand dollars.
- In all other cases, criminal damage is a class 2 misdemeanor.
Vandalism Attorney in Maricopa County
If you’re facing vandalism charges, Todd Coolidge is here to help. We’re certified criminal specialists with a pulse on Arizona courts and a thorough understanding of our state’s criminal law. Contact us today to learn more about your specific charges, and we’ll discuss possible strategies to give you the best possible outcome for your case.