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What is a graffiti charge in Maryland?

When a person or business invests in property, they want to keep that investment in good shape. For that reason, there are laws in Maryland that prohibit people from doing things that destroy the property of others. There are some instances in which people might choose to inscribe, paint, draw or write on the property of another person, which isn't a lawful thing to do.

What is graffiti?

When that inscription, painting, drawing or writing is permanent, it can be classified as graffiti. One requirement for something to be classified as graffiti is that the person who is writing or drawing must be doing so without the permission of the property owner.

What are the penalties for graffiti?

Graffiti is a misdemeanor. The penalties for a conviction depend on the dollar amount of damage caused. If the graffiti caused less than $1,000 in damage, a jail sentence of up to 60 days is possible. A fine of up to $500 is also possible. If the graffiti caused $1,000 in damage or more, a maximum of 3 years imprisonment is possible. The fine in this case is up to $2,500. In addition to the imprisonment term and fine, the person will have to do community service, pay restitution or both, depending on the sentence handed down.

A graffiti charge isn't one that should be taken lightly. The monetary consequences can add up quickly. When you factor in the possible imprisonment, you can see why it is important to offer a defense. Going over the evidence against you and learning how the prosecution will present the damage can make a big impact on how to handle your defense.

Source: General Assembly of Maryland, "Article - Criminal Law" accessed Jan. 27, 2015

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