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Dallas Vandalism Defense Lawyer

Vandalism, like other property crimes, often involves false accusations and significant infringements on the rights of the accused. At the end of the process, a property crime conviction can stick with an individual and hamper job prospects and other opportunities.

 

If you are facing vandalism charges in Texas, you do not have to fight on your own. Attorney Jeff King in Dallas TX has experience defending charges of vandalism and other property crimes, including theft, burglary, grand theft auto, and arson.

What is vandalism?

Vandalism is a catch-all term for the crime of willfully destroying or damaging property by defacing, marring, or otherwise causing flaws to someone else’s property that reduces the property’s value.

 

A broad range of actions falls under the veil of vandalism and they can range from the seemingly innocent actions to those that are clearly destructive. Some examples include carving initials in a tree, throwing eggs at cars, painting graffiti on a building, setting a fire, and smashing mailboxes.

 

Vandalism is illegal in every state but each adopts own laws determining what each type of property crime is called and how it is punished. In Texas, all forms of property damage, whether intentional or accidental, are types of property crimes under the Texas Penal Code. Underneath that umbrella, there are several specific crimes and each has its own components and punishments.

  • Arson – The Texas Penal Code § 28.02 defines arson as the intentional or reckless destruction of property by fire or an explosion. Arson is punishable as a state jail felony, or a felony of the first or second degree depending on where the arson occurred and whether the damage was strictly to property or harmed a person.
  • Criminal Mischief – Under Tex. Penal Code § 28.03, criminal mischief may be a Class C, B, or A misdemeanor or a state jail felony depending on the amount of loss caused. A person may commit criminal mischief if he, intentionally and without the consent of the owner, either:
  1. Destroys or damages the owner’s property,
  2. Tampers with the property in such a way as to cause loss or substantial inconvenience, or
  3. Mars someone else’s property with drawings, paintings, inscriptions, or other markings
  • Graffiti – Under the Texas Penal Code, § 28.08, graffiti constitutes intentionally and without the consent of the owner, drawing, painting, marking, or writing on some physical property by use of paint, permanent marker, or an etching or engraving tool. Like criminal mischief, graffiti can constitute a Class B or A misdemeanor or a state jail felony depending on the amount of damage caused and where the graffiti took place.
  • Reckless Damage or Destruction Under Texas Penal Code § 28.04 Property damage that is destroyed recklessly but without the owner’s permission may constitute reckless damage or destruction, a Class C misdemeanor.

Vandalism punishment

Property crimes are often punished harshly as a deterrent to others. Since vandalism crimes necessarily involve the destruction of property, law enforcement and courts do not like to go lightly on an accused. If you are convicted of a vandalism crime, it may lead to jail or prison time, fines, and a criminal record that can jeopardize your future

 

In Texas, state law sets minimum punishments for crimes like vandalism offenses. The punishment for a felony conviction depends on a few factors, including:

  • The type and severity of the offence
  • The accused’s prior felony convictions
  • Whether a weapon was involved
  • Whether the damage was strictly property-related or caused bodily harm to a person

 

Law enforcement and prosecutors look at different factors in determining whether to charge a given occurrence as a misdemeanor or a felony. Getting a vandalism lawyer involved as soon as possible, even just after an arrest and before charges are filed, can improve your situation.

Felony vandalism

If the vandalism is considered intentional or knowing (criminal mischief or graffiti) then it may be charged as a misdemeanor or a state jail felony depending on the above-listed types of factors. Arson, which requires intent or recklessness as well as the means of fire or explosion, is automatically at least a state jail felony.

 

While a misdemeanor is punishable by a fine and up to one year in jail, a felony conviction may land an offender in prison for anywhere from 180 days for some state jail felonies to life for a first degree felony.

 

The consequences of a felony vandalism conviction should not be taken lightly. If you are facing property damage charges, trust experienced vandalism lawyer Jeff King, who understands how the Texas statutes and sentencing guidelines work.

Defending vandalism charges in Texas

If you have been arrested for or charged with a vandalism crime in Texas, do not risk going it alone. Dallas criminal defense attorney Jeff King is experienced in defending property crimes including vandalism charges like criminal mischief and will fight the charges against you.

 

The penalty for a vandalism conviction can impair aspects of your life for many years to come. Call or email vandalism lawyer Jeff King for a consultation

Additional “Texas vandalism laws” resources

  1. Texas Penal Code, TITLE 7. OFFENSES AGAINST PROPERTY, CHAPTER 28. ARSON, CRIMINAL MISCHIEF, AND OTHER PROPERTY DAMAGE OR DESTRUCTION, http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/PE/htm/PE.28.htm
  2. Texas Penal Code, TITLE 7. OFFENSES AGAINST PROPERTY, CHAPTER 30. BURGLARY AND CRIMINAL TRESPASS, http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/PE/htm/PE.30.htm
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JEFFERY KING, PLLC.
2626 Cole Ave.
Suite 415
Dallas, Texas 75204
T: 469-399-7001
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