Graffiti and tagging are forms of vandalism that cause damage or destruction to someone else’s property. Most commonly, graffiti and tagging is done with paint or etching agents but the legal term encompasses any type of unwelcome lettering or images that are applied to a surface.

What Are Common Criminal Sentences for Graffiti and Tagging?

First time offenders normally must pay restitution, perform community service, and serve probation; but in places like Chicago a single instance can cost over $500 in fines. Philadelphia’s graffiti database sent Daniel Joseph Montano, the King of Graffiti, to 5 years in prison in 2005 after being cited for tagging 200 buildings in the city.

Is Graffiti Ever Legal?

There have been a number of big-city efforts to curb unwanted graffiti by supporting community mural projects. However, these projects involve getting approval from building owners and sometimes community members as well. Mural arts programs target hot spots for tagging with complex commissioned pieces that are also protected by city ordinances and entail fines and penalties for vandalizing them.

What Should I Do If Accused of Graffiti or Tagging?

If you’re accused of tagging then you should contact a criminal defense lawyer in your area that can help you sort out your options and the complicated legal system.

What If I’m A Victim of Graffiti or Tagging?

If you are a victim of tagging or graffiti then you should call the police and make a report. If there is sufficient evidence, the police will then forward your case to the District Attorney’s office to prosecute the person who committed the vandalism against you.