Vandalism is a type of property crime which ARS 13-1602 defines as an intentional act of destroying or damaging public or private property. This can involve anything from breaking windows to graffiti. In 2017, the Arizona Department of Public Safety reported over 10,000 arrests for this crime. This offense is fairly common, and can occur anywhere and to anyone. However, there are certain areas where vandalism is more likely to happen.
Cars are often a target of vandalism, and this is especially true if the owner leaves the vehicle in public parking lots with low levels of surveillance. In a large parking lot, it’s less likely that the owner of the car will immediately notice vandalism, so vandals target these areas where they know others will not catch them as easily.
The time of day also changes the likelihood of this crime occurring. A parking lot at night when less foot traffic is present, for example, is a more likely target. In general, vandals will attempt to find circumstances where fewer people can witness a crime occurring.
Under ARS 13-1604, damaging or destroying school property is a more serious, aggravated offense. The same is true of places of worship, agricultural sites, and cemeteries. However, the fact that schools are protected further by this statute does not stop them from being a common target of vandalism.
In this case, the reason vandals target schools is less because of convenience and more because of demographics. Younger people are more likely to commit this type of crime, and this age group is also in and around schools. As with other types of vandalism, this is more likely to occur at night when school security is not present.
Although most people think of graffiti in public spaces when they think of vandalism, this crime also happens on private property. There are a few different reasons vandals would target a private home. Unfortunately, this is sometimes part of a hate crime, which could potentially increase the penalties for the offense. There may be indications of the motivations based on the type of damage that takes place.
It’s important to remember that this offense is not always in the form of graffiti. If teenagers egg a house, for example, this is also a type of vandalism and the victim can prosecute it as such. The same is true for any other act, regardless of the motivation, that causes damage to private property. So long as the act was intentional, it might be vandalism.
Vandalism is a serious crime, so if you have been charged with this offense, it is important that you contact a criminal defense lawyer immediately. This can help you avoid expensive fines and keep your criminal record clean.
Grabb & Durando’s DUI Defense Team is made up of experienced criminal defense attorneys who will fight to help you avoid criminal charges. We will examine your vandalism offense and determine if your offense falls under political/artistic expression, accidental damage, or another defense.