Vandalism Lawyer Los Angeles

Pen. Code Sec. 594

Vandalism is the crime of intentionally damaging or destroying property of another. It is a wobbler, meaning it can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony.  A misdemeanor is where the damage is under $400 and is punishable by a year in jail, restitution, or a fine of $1000.  If the damage exceeds $400, the crime is a felony with up to 3 years served in county jail, restitution, or a fine of up to $10,000.  The fine can increase to up to $50,000 if the damage exceeds $10,000.
Graffiti is the most often cause for this charge.  Graffiti can also be charged as an infraction or misdemeanor under Pen. Code Sec. 640.5-640.8, depending on whether the cost to remove is deemed greater than $250.  However charged, Graffiti defacement will likely include cleaning up the graffiti as part of the punishment.
It is also a crime for a minor to buy aerosol paint, and for someone to sell it to them (PC 594.1), which is also a misdemeanor.  There is a question, however, as to the legality of this law if there is no posted sign.
As part of the crack-down on graffiti, it is also a crime to posses paint or other graffiti tools with the “intent” to deface property.
The penalty increases depending on where the graffiti is, for example graffiti on a church is a straight felony, not a wobbler.
These charges become much more serious if the graffiti is alleged to be gang-related (Pen. Code Sec. 186.22).  This law can be prosecuted on its own, as a wobbler, or as an enhancement.  As an enhancement, if the graffiti is for the promotion of a gang (and how could it not be if it is a gang moniker or tag?) then up to 4 years prison may be added to the sentence.
Mr. Sebastian has had success with Gang-related crimes, and vandalism in particular.  The STEP Act (PC 186.22) can be fought due to its intricacies and what’s required to be proved.