Houston Juvenile Crimes Attorney

If your child has been accused of graffiti or any form of vandalism, it is important to take the necessary steps to protect their rights and future. A juvenile defense attorney can get involved early in the process and can work to help your son or daughter avoid a conviction and penalties or other consequences of a graffiti conviction by protecting his or her rights every step of the way.

At The Martinez Law Firm, our Houston criminal defense attorneys are experienced and knowledgeable in protecting individuals from criminal charges. A criminal record can have lifelong repercussions, making it difficult for your child to find employment, an apartment, or a loan. Herman Martinez has over 20 years practicing law in the state of Texas as well as experience working as a prosecutor. This uniquely equips him with the knowledge needed to deflect criminal charges such as vandalism and graffiti.

To learn more about how a lawyer can help you, feel free to contact the Martinez Law Firm toll-free at 800-724-1876.

What Constitutes Vandalism in Harris County?

Often, vandalism is considered to be the intentional or deliberate destruction of or damage to public or private property. These types of offenses commonly include graffiti, breaking windows, throwing eggs, trespassing, spray painting, smashing mailboxes, or arson. Essentially, any damage to property is considered a vandalism offense.

When you have been accused of vandalism, it is vital to hire a Houston criminal defense attorney with experience. Convictions for vandalism may result in severe punishments that have lifelong repercussions. These include prison and jail sentences as well as fines and a criminal record.

Graffiti and Vandalism Charges

Per Texas Penal Code Ann. 28.04, reckless damage or destruction occurs when an individual recklessly damages or destroys the property of another person without their consent. This offense can result in a Class C misdemeanor.

Under Texas Penal Code Ann. 28.03, criminal mischief occurs when an individual intentionally or knowingly does one of the following to property without the owner’s permission:

  • Makes markings, drawings, writings, inscriptions, slogans, or paintings on the tangible property of the owner
  • Damages or destroys the tangible property of the owner
  • Tampers with the tangible property of the owner in a way that causes loss or substantial inconvenience to any person

The above offense is punishable as a Class C, B, or A misdemeanor or potentially a state jail felony or first, second, or third degree felony, depending on the amount of loss that results from the damage.

Under Texas Penal Code Section 28.08, graffiti is considered a misdemeanor or felony offense. Penalties are generally based upon the extent of damage to the property, ranging from 180 days in jail and fines of up to $2,000 to imprisonment in state prison and fines of up to $10,000. A parent of a juvenile offender convicted of graffiti may be held financially accountable for paying fines. A juvenile defendant may also face mandatory graffiti cleanup and other forms of community service.

In some situations, graffiti will be charged as a felony offense. This typically applies if the graffiti or vandalism is committed as a hate crime against a person or group of people due to their race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, or disability. All other types of graffiti or minor vandalism, however, is most often charged as a misdemeanor juvenile crime for a minor. It may even be a crime for a minor to be in possession of aerosol paint or other materials that may be used to make graffiti if the minor is on public property or on another’s private property.

An individual could also be charged with an arson offense when they intentionally or recklessly destroy property with fire or an explosion, per Texas Penal Code 28.02. This is punishable as a felony at the first, second, or third degree, depending on whether death or injury result to any individual because of the arson as well as where the arson occurred.

What Are the Penalties for Vandalism in Houston?

As defined in Chapter 12 of the Texas Penal Code, the minimum statutory penalties for vandalism are as listed below. However, each of these punishments has the potential to increase. When you’ve been previously convicted of a felony or have caused serious bodily injury or death while committing the offense, your risk of a harsher sentence increases dramatically.

  • A person charged and convicted of vandalism can result in a Class C misdemeanor, leading to a fine of up to $500.
  • Class B misdemeanors can result in a jail sentence up to 180 days or a fine of up to $2,000.
  • A Class A misdemeanor can lead to a one-year jail sentence and/or a fine of up to $4,000.
  • State jail felonies can result in a jail sentence ranging form 180 days to 2 years and/or a fine not exceeding $10,000.
  • A third degree felony may result in 2-10 years in prison and/or fines of up to $10,000.
  • A second degree felony can lead to 2-20 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
  • A first degree felony is punishable by a prison sentence ranging from 5-99 years or life imprisonment and/or a find of no more than $10,000.

Contact a Houston Vandalism Defense Attorney

Have you been accused of vandalism in Harris County? A Houston criminal defense lawyer can help you navigate the criminal justice system and advocate on your behalf. Herman Martinez is and experienced criminal defense attorney and will utilize every option available to fight the charges against you.

Contact Martinez Law Firm today for a consultation about your alleged vandalism charges. We work with individuals throughout Harris County and the surrounding area. To learn more about how an experienced Houston criminal defense lawyer can help you, feel free to contact the Martinez Law Firm toll-free at 800-724-1876.