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Some call it art, the law may call it a crime

There is an art to tagging a wall or building. At least, in many cases. Some downtown areas are tourist attractions specifically due to the graffiti that appreciative passersby have grown to love. But your desire to leave a mark on a property was not well received when you were caught in the act or, for one reason or another, arrested on suspicion of being the guilty party.

So what makes your art an offense and another's art a tourist attraction? Why do vandalism laws exist? Simply put, if the canvas for your art is not your property and you do not have permission to use it, you can be considered as defacing property. Obviously, a harmless picture is likely to be received better than something crude, vulgar or offensive and hateful. Another reason vandalism laws exist is to help prevent hate crimes.

The penalties for vandalism can vary dramatically. Most reasons for this depend upon the laws of the state as well as the type of vandalism and the intent behind it. Penalties can range from fines to incarceration for a set time.

If you were investigated or have been charged with vandalism, it could be very beneficial to you to speak with an attorney. He or she may be able to argue your case in your favor and portray your intent as a noble endeavor to share art and expression with the world. If you have a child who is a minor, you and your child's other parent may be required to pay a monetary fine for the offense.

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Escobar & Associates
2917 W. Kennedy Boulevard
Suite 100
Tampa, FL 33609

Phone: 813-513-0274
Fax: 813.877.6590
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