Spray Today, Pay Tomorrow: Penalties for Graffiti in Connecticut
As long as there has been civilization, there has been graffiti. Whether it is scratching initials into a desk or painting an entire mural on the wall of the local school, people are always looking for new ways to leave their mark on their hometown. However, graffiti is considered a property crime and can lead to serious penalties if police catch you. Budding street artists in Connecticut are finding this out the hard way.
Earlier this year, a group of graffiti artists were arrested after their identities were revealed on Instagram. They are now facing possible jail time after defacing property worth upward of $12,000.
The Potential Consequences of a Conviction
Graffiti is classified as criminal mischief in Connecticut, and the penalties vary depending on the seriousness of each case. If you were charged with first-degree criminal mischief, which is considered a felony, it is because:
- The damage you caused to the property was in excess of $1,500;
- Your tagging broke a fire alarm or smoke alarm; or
- You caused damage to public utilities.
Police will charge you with second-degree criminal mischief if you caused property damage worth more than $250, or if you had the intent to cause damage to the property. Third-degree criminal mischief is reserved for offenders who intentionally damaged property, regardless of the cost of the damage caused. You will be charged with fourth-degree criminal mischief if you damaged a smoke or fire alarm, or tampered with a fire hydrant.
The penalties for each offense can vary greatly. If you are facing charges for first-degree criminal mischief, a conviction may come with up to five years in prison. You may also have to pay a fine of up to $5,000. On the other end of the spectrum, a fourth-degree criminal mischief charge can only result in up to three months in jail and a fine of up to $500.
Seek Legal Help
If police have arrested you for vandalizing property, then one of your first calls should be to an experienced Stamford property crime attorney. For more than 40 years, Mr. Weiner of the Law Offices of Daniel P. Weiner has successfully defended clients in Danbury, Bridgeport, Darien, and Wilton. To schedule a free consultation, call 203-348-5846.