San Mateo, Santa Clara, San Francisco
Vandalism can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the severity of the different Vandalism Charges. You could lose your license to drive, be required to do community service, or you could even face imprisonment if convicted of vandalism in California. The court may also order that a person convicted of vandalism enroll in counseling, clean up or repair anything that was damaged, complete community service and pay restitution. Increased penalties may apply if the target of the vandalism charges were due to race, religion or nationality. How do you defend charges of vandalism?
Legal Defenses to Vandalism in California
If you damaged, defaced, or destroyed the property accidentally or unintentionally, then you have not committed vandalism.
If you repair the damage to the property and document your efforts to repair—such as by “buffing” or painting over graffiti and taking before and after photos—the district attorney or judge may look favorably upon you and lessen or possibly dismiss the charges. Alternatively, or in addition, you may want to seek a Civil Compromise.
Sometimes property is damaged or destroyed in the heat of a dispute and the person who is actually culpable points the finger at another.
The accuser or a witness may have mistakenly identified you as the one to cause the vandalism. Or maybe you were with one (or more) of the people who caused the vadalism, and got blamed for their actions.
Alternative Remedies: Civil Compromise
Civil compromise can be an excellent alternative remedy to vandalism charges, allowing the defendant to halt the criminal prosecution without pleading guilty of being convicted by a judge or jury. To obtain a civil compromise, the defendant must compensate the victim or property owner for the loss suffered. It is important that an attorney, not the defendant himself or herself, pursue civil compromise because an attempt on your own may be viewed as an attempt to bribe, coerce, or intimidate, which could result in more serious felony charges. Learn more about Civil Compromise and how this might be an option for you.
Contact Attorney Thomas Greenberg now!
Attorney Thomas Greenberg has extensive experience defending vandalism clients in California. He can work to negotiate with the alleged victim and get the case dismissed, or to prevent filing by the district attorney. If you have been arrested for vandalism, the legal services of San Mateo County criminal defense attorney Thomas Greenberg can be indispensable.