Vandalism Explained

On an otherwise normal night, something wakes you from your sleep. You are confused to the point of annoyance. What could that sound be? It sounded like glass shattering. You decide to find out and walk towards the source. 

Upon arrival, your heart sinks at the sight of the broken window. As you peep outside to ascertain the source, you are met with a terrible sight: an insult spray-painted across your wall. You have just become a victim of vandalism, joining millions of Americans who deal with similar nightmares every year. What happens next? In this article, you will learn about vandalism, acts that qualify as vandalism, your rights as a victim, and repercussions for the offender. Have a read below. 

What is Vandalism? 

In the example above, the offender intentionally destroyed your property without your consent (you were asleep, after all). The act left you feeling violated, frustrated, and helpless. 

This act constitutes vandalism, intentionally destroying another person’s property without their permission. The cases that fall under the purview of this offense are many. Below are seven common examples of vandalism seen: 

  • Graffiti 
  • Property damage 
  • Defacement 
  • Destruction of public property 
  • Arson 
  • Tampering with vehicles 
  • Cyber Vandalism

If you are a victim of any of the above vices, you must understand your rights, as they will influence your next course of action and potentially help you seek restitution, which may restore semblance. Here is what you are entitled to:

  • The right to report the crime 
  • The right to seek compensation 
  • The right to participate in the legal process 
  • The right to protection 
  • The right to restitution 
  • The right to support

Being a victim of vandalism can leave you feeling violated, frustrated, and helpless. You can report the crime and seek compensation from the offender, leaving you with a sense of semblance. 

Punishments for Vandalism

Vandalism is an offense that can lead to criminal and civil penalties. If you have been charged with vandalism, your fate rests upon the available evidence and the severity of the crime. Here are some of the potential repercussions for vandalism:

  • Fines
  • Restitution   
  • Community service 
  • Probation 
  • Jail or prison time 

Other than these repercussions, gang involvement can aggravate a vandalism charge. In Kansas, vandalism committed as part of gang activity can be treated as a more serious offense with harsher consequences. 

When Minors Commit Vandalism

Adolescence is a confusing time for many young Americans, and some use vandalism as a misguided mural for their inner desire to make a mark on the world. A teenager can still be charged with a vandalism offense, and here are some of the potential repercussions: 

  • Community service 
  • Restitution 
  • Probation 
  • Fines
  • Rehabilitation

“For teenagers, the goal of punishment is to rehabilitate rather than to punish. As such, they may be offered diversion programs to address the underlying issues, education,  and counseling to prevent future criminal behavior,” says Attorney  Tom Addair of Addair Law

Why You Need a Lawyer

If you have been charged with vandalism, your first action should be to seek counsel from a vandalism lawyer. Your attorney can help ensure your rights are protected. They can also help enlighten you on the potential defenses to your charge. Better still, they can assist walking you through the legal process and work to ensure minimal consequences for your charge. 

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