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Tagging and Graffiti Laws Here in California

Tagging and Graffiti Laws Here in California

Tagging and graffiti are two things that most people have seen, especially if they live in an urban area. Pretty much every large city in the country is littered with graffiti and other signs of tagging. A lot of times, these random markings can make signs unreadable, and change the look of the city for the worse. That is why most states have laws against graffiti.

California is one such state. California Penal Code (PC) 594 covers all sorts of vandalism, from breaking something to marking it up with paint or markers. While the crimes of graffiti and vandalism may seem minor to some, they are a very big deal to others. This is especially true for anyone stuck having to clean up the mess.

California Penal Code 594

PC 594 here in the state of California outlines every possible crime that could be considered vandalism and the punishments for them all. As far as the law is concerned, vandalism is considered to occur when someone maliciously defaces, damages, or destroys someone else’s property.

Vandalism can be any number of things, from

:

  • Smashing mailboxes.
  • Keying someone’s car.
  • Writing a name in wet cement.
  • Breaking someone’s fine china.

Basically, if someone messes with someone else’s stuff with the express intent of breaking or harming it, then they are guilty of vandalism. In fact, this can even be true if two people own something together, and one of them breaks the item. The other person could charge the first with vandalism in the state of California.

Penalties of Vandalism

As far as the punishments for vandalism go, they are dependent on the amount of damage done, the person’s criminal history, if they have one, and what exactly the person vandalized. For instance, vandalizing a place of worship comes with steeper consequences than simply vandalizing someone’s home.

If the amount of damage done totals less than $400, then the vandalism is a misdemeanor charge. This means that the person faces:

  • Up to 1 year in county jail.
  • A max fine of $1,000 unless the person has any prior vandalism charges, in which case the max fine is $5,000.
  • Informal probation.

If the cost of the damage is greater than $400 dollars, the prosecution can charge the crime as either a misdemeanor or as a felony. With misdemeanor vandalism charges in this case, a person faces:

  • Up to one year in county jail.
  • A max fine of $10,000, unless the cost of the damages was higher than $10,000, in which case the max fine would be $50,000.
  • Informal probation

If the cost of damages was over $400 dollars and the crime is being charged as a felony, then the person faces:

  • A jail sentence ranging from 16 months to 3 years.
  • A max fine of $10,000, unless the cost of the damages was higher than $10,000, in which case the max fine would be $50,000.
  • Informal probation.

Consequences of Graffiti in California

Graffiti can be penalized differently in California if the damage done costs less than $250. California PC’s 640.5 and 640.6 only cover the act of graffiti. These offenses come with slightly less harsh consequences, and increase in severity with subsequent offenses.

The first time someone is charged with this crime, they face an infraction level offense:

  • A max fine of $1,000.
  • Community service.

The second time someone is charged with this crime, they face a misdemeanor level offense:

  • Up to 6 months in jail.
  • A max fine of $2,000.
  • Community service.

For a third, or any subsequent offense after that, a person will face a misdemeanor level offense:

  • Up to 1 year in jail.
  • A max fine of $3,000.
  • Community service.

Don’t Damage Someone Else’s Property

Aside from the state having its own law against graffiti and vandalism as a whole, many cities have their own takes on ordinances regarding graffiti. Some cities have even prohibited minors, anyone under 18, from being in possession of graffiti tools such as cans of spray paint and permanent markers. As such parents may want to be careful with giving their children Sharpies. Some cities take that act very seriously, while others couldn’t care less.

Graffiti and vandalism are not fun to deal with, and they are not fun to look at either. That is why the state of California has laws against both vandalism and graffiti. Any person caught breaking those laws will face the consequences.

What do you think of California’s laws surrounding vandalism and graffiti? Are the consequences too steep, just right, or not harsh enough? Why is that?

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How Eggs Can Get a Person into Trouble

How Eggs Can Get a Person into Trouble

How Eggs Can Get a Person into Trouble

Somewhere back in history, thousands of years ago, humans decided to start eating eggs. They have been enjoyed worldwide ever since. The food has become such a breakfast staple, that it can be found in pretty much every refrigerator in America. Due to this fact, most people have easy access to the little morsels.

When broken, eggs can be very messy. Dropping one on the kitchen floor can be a bit frustrating, as the mess it makes will take a bit of cleaning. At some point, teens and children figured out that this kind of mess can be used against other people. Whether the person is some rival or just a random stranger doesn’t really matter. Some people just get a kick out of throwing eggs at things. What they may not realize, is that while the act of egging may seem harmless, it can get a person into trouble.

What Is Egging?

The act of egging is a very simple one. A person simply takes an egg and throws it at something. This kind of thing can usually increase in frequency around certain holidays, such as Halloween or April Fool’s Day. This is likely due to the fact that these holidays have a bit of mischievousness related to them.

Usually troublesome teens will throw the splat-able objects at houses or cars. They often find it amusing to watch how the object impacts and leaves a sticky mess. Seeing how the victims react to the mess is another plus to the activity.

What these people do not realize is that egging can be considered an act of vandalism in most areas, including California.

Vandalism and Egging

To many people, vandalism may seem like a small crime. However, that is not the case. Vandalism can be considered either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the cost of the property damage.

Vandalism is illegal in the state of California under Penal Code (PC) 594. PC 594 defines vandalism as maliciously defacing, damaging, or destroying another person’s property. Due to the openness of the law, this can cover anything keying someone’s car, to a person writing their name in the wet cement of a city sidewalk.

This means that it also covers the act of egging. When a person throws eggs at another person property, they are defacing it, and potentially damaging it. Eggs, especially once dried, can be very difficult to remove. Egg whites can deteriorate certain types of paint, causing damage. Thrown eggs can also leave dents, which would also be troublesome to take care of.

Egging moving vehicles can be very dangerous. The egg can cover a windshield and obstruct a driver’s view. Attempts to remove the egg while driving can often worsen the situation, leading to accidents. If someone is hurt or killed due to an egging incident, the person responsible for throwing the egg could face charges worse than vandalism.

What Are the Consequences of Vandalism?

The penalties for vandalism are dependent on the cost of the property damage. This means that the more damage done by the act, such as egging, the worse the consequences will be. Here in California, the price difference between misdemeanor and felony vandalism is $400. If the damages amount to less than $400 dollars, then the person will face misdemeanor charges. $400 dollars or more will earn a person felony charges.

For misdemeanor charges, a person faces:

  • Up to one year in jail.
  • A max fine of $1,000, unless the person has prior vandalism convictions, which means they can face up $5,000 in fines.
  • Informal probation.

For felony charges, a person faces:

  • Jail sentence ranging from 16 months, 2 years, or 3 years.
  • A maximum fine of $10,000. If the total damages were more than $10,000, then the fines could be up to $50,000.
  • Informal probation.

As one can see, vandalism is no small case here in California.

Egging Someone Else’s Stuff Is Probably a Bad Idea

If a parent does not want to be held responsible for these kinds of acts, they should make sure their kids understand how bad of an idea egging is. It can get them into a lot of trouble, especially if the damages get too excessive, or lead to an accident.

Throwing eggs at another person’s property may seem like a small, harmless crime, but it isn’t. Just think of how annoying it would be to have to clean up a bunch of eggs. Cleaning up eggs can be a costly and time consuming task. That is why it is often covered under California Penal Code 594. This way, people who have been victims of this kind of vandalism can get the retribution that they deserve.