Vandalism in Arizona happens when one person takes it upon themselves to destroy or deface property owned by another person. Examples include graffiti, broken windows and damage to a vehicle or other personal property. These acts represent serious crimes that can result in legal repercussions for juveniles and adults who are found guilty of vandalism.
The defining characteristic of an act of vandalism is that property alteration happens without the permission of the property owner. Vandalism charges can apply under Arizona criminal law statutes when an individual commits one or more of the following actions:
- “Egging” a car or home
- Intentionally scratching the paint off a personal vehicle
- Breaking the windows of a car or home
- Slashing the tires of a motor vehicle
- Knocking down street signs
- Applying spray paint or another substance to the property of another person
Penalties for vandalism
Multiple penalties are possible for individuals convicted of criminal damages in Arizona. The value of the destroyed property will become the main factor for determining the severity of the penalties involved.
Individuals convicted of vandalizing property worth less than $250 receive class II misdemeanor charges that carry a maximum penalty of four months in jail and a $750 fine. These charges increase in severity to class I misdemeanors when the property value is more than $250 but less than $1,000. The maximum penalties for class I misdemeanor vandalism charges include a possible six months behind bars and a fine of $750.
A defendant in a vandalism case typically faces a felony conviction when the property value is more than $1,000. A class VI felony charge applies if the value is less than $2,000. Prison sentences ranging from six to 18 months become applicable with class VI felony convictions.
Class V felony vandalism charges cover property damages valued at more than $2,000 but less than $10,000. Defacing property to further the actions of a criminal gang will also result in a class V felony. A prison sentence of eight months to two years becomes possible upon conviction.
Class IV felony charges apply when the vandalized property is worth more than $10,000. Defendants convicted of this crime face a maximum of three years in jail. Class IV felony vandalism charges also apply to property belonging to a utility worth more than $5,000.
Defending against vandalism charges
Individuals accused of vandalism will need to defend themselves to protect against the potential consequences. A criminal defense attorney may prove helpful to these efforts.