You can be charged with graffiti, if you use paint, an indelible marker, or an engraving device to make markings on someone else’s property, and do so without their consent. The seriousness of any allegation of graffiti is determined by the monetary loss suffered by the owner as a result of their property having been damaged by graffiti. In cases of multiple allegations of graffiti against one person, the dollar value of all allegations can be added together (“aggregated”), and you can be charged accordingly. For example, if it’s alleged that you placed graffiti on five different locations, with damages of $500 at each location, you can be charged with one count of graffiti, with an alleged loss in value of $2500.
Graffiti is a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to 180 days in county jail and a fine of up to $2000, if the loss to the owner of the property is alleged to be less than $500. However, graffiti can be a 1st degree felony, with a penalty range of 5 to 99, or life in prison, and a fine of up to $10,000, if it’s alleged that the loss is greater than $200,000. If you’ve been arrested or charged with graffiti, you need serious legal help. Call the Dallas County graffiti criminal defense lawyers at Berlof & Newton, P.C.
Our attorneys each have over 15 years of experience in the practice of criminal defense law. Free consultation. Call us today at 214.827.2800, or contact one of our attorneys directly using our “Get Legal Help Now!” form in the left margin of this web page. Se habla español. Texas Penal Code Section 28.08. GRAFFITI.
(a) A person commits an offense if, without the effective consent of the owner, the person intentionally or knowingly makes markings, including inscriptions, slogans, drawings, or paintings, on the tangible property of the owner with: (1) paint; (2) an indelible marker; or (3) an etching or engraving device.
(b) Except as provided by Subsection (d), an offense under this section is:
(1) a Class B misdemeanor if the amount of pecuniary loss is less than $500;
(2) a Class A misdemeanor if the amount of pecuniary loss is $500 or more but less than $1,500;
(3) a state jail felony if the amount of pecuniary loss is $1,500 or more but less than $20,000;
(4) a felony of the third degree if the amount of pecuniary loss is $20,000 or more but less than $100,000;
(5) a felony of the second degree if the amount of pecuniary loss is $100,000 or more but less than $200,000; or
(6) a felony of the first degree if the amount of pecuniary loss is $200,000 or more.
(c) When more than one item of tangible property, belonging to one or more owners, is marked in violation of this section pursuant to one scheme or continuing course of conduct, the conduct may be considered as one offense, and the amounts of pecuniary loss to property resulting from the marking of the property may be aggregated in determining the grade of the offense.
(d) An offense under this section is a state jail felony if: (1) the marking is made on a school, an institution of higher education, a place of worship or human burial, a public monument, or a community center that provides medical, social, or educational programs; and (2) the amount of the pecuniary loss to real property or to tangible personal property is less than $20,000.
(e) In this section: (1) “Aerosol paint” means an aerosolized paint product. (2) “Etching or engraving device” means a device that makes a delineation or impression on tangible property, regardless of the manufacturer’s intended use for that device. (3) “Indelible marker” means a device that makes a mark with a paint or ink product that is specifically formulated to be more difficult to erase, wash out, or remove than ordinary paint or ink products. (4) “Institution of higher education” has the meaning assigned by Section 481.134, Health and Safety Code. (5) “School” means a private or public elementary or secondary school.
Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 593, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997. Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 166, Sec. 1, 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1999; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 695, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1420, Sec. 16.001, eff. Sept. 1, 2001. Amended by: Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 639, Sec. 4, eff. September 1, 2009.
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