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Key facts about vandalism charges

Some individuals may put their own marks on the sides of buildings or various properties as self-expression or a way to mark their territory. The owner of the property, however, may see it as property crime.

If you or a loved one face vandalism charges, it is important to understand the seriousness of such an infraction. There are a few key facts to know about vandalism charges.

Responsibility

In many instances, parents are the responsible party for their children. The same is true when it comes to vandalism charges. Though the child may still face the charges in court and any conviction would go on the child's record, parents are still accountable financially. This could result in extensive fees.

Vandalism definition

In short, vandalism is an intentional act that results in the damage of another person's property. There are some common acts of vandalism, which include:

  • Tagging
  • Breaking doors or windows 
  • Carving into wood or glass property with a knife
  • Damage to a mailbox, car, lawn or other property

There are other types of acts that the court may classify as vandalism. Even if vandalism is not the intent, if an intentional act results in property damage, it could still constitute as vandalism.

Misdemeanor or felony

A few specific characteristics help to determine if a vandalism charge is a misdemeanor or a felony. Missouri statute 569.100 fully details what constitutes a vandalism felony. In most cases, if an act results in $750 or more of damages, or if it is racially charged, it constitutes a felony. On the other hand, if there is not enough evidence or the vandalism is worth less than $750, it will most likely be a misdemeanor. Whereas a misdemeanor can result in up to six months in prison and a $500 fine, a felony can garner up to a four-year prison sentence and $5,000 in fines.

As you can see, vandalism charges are very serious. If you or a loved one are facing them, make sure you understand the law and legal process to try to reach the best outcome.

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