Yes. Under Louisiana law, defacing property with graffiti is a crime, and persons convicted can face jail time from 6 months to 10 years, depending on how much it costs to remove the graffiti. Fines can also be imposed of up to $10,000. See Louisiana Rev. Stat, § 14:56.4.
The crime is called "criminal damage to property by defacing with graffiti." The crime applies to any property, whether privately or publicly owned and to any immovable surface (like a wall) or to a movable surface (like a railway car).
Do I Really Need a Lawyer if I am Charged with a Graffiti Crime?
You may not "need" a lawyer, but you may certainly benefit from legal assistance and guidance. Criminal damage to property can be charged as a felony. As such, any conviction can be an enhancing conviction for any later conviction. Convictions also can be used to deny you employment, trade certifications, licensures, and rental housing. If you are underage, you probably also do not want your parents to be potentially liable for restitution costs.
To learn more, you are welcome to call our Louisiana criminal defense attorney at the Law Offices of Philip B. Adams.
How Can the Charges Be Defended?
To obtain a conviction, the Louisiana prosecuting attorneys must prove beyond a reasonable doubt the following:
From this definition found in the statute, there may be several defenses depending on the facts of your case. For example, the statute defines "graffiti" as the following:
"... any sign, inscription, design, drawing, diagram, etching, sketch, symbol, lettering, name, or marking placed upon immovable or movable property in such a manner and in such a location as to deface the property and be visible to the general public."
So, one possible defense is that your signs, paintings, etc., were located in a place that was NOT visible to the "general public."
As another example, the statute defines "deface" or "defacing" as "... the damaging of immovable or movable property by means of painting, marking, scratching, drawing, or etching with graffiti." So, if, for example, you used stickers or some other method not listed in the statute, then potentially, you cannot be convicted of "defacing" property (at least within the meaning of this criminal statute).
Other potential legal defenses may include (again, depending on the facts) the following:
Other Potential Punishments
Note that the statute allows the Louisiana criminal court to impose additional punishments beyond those listed above:
Contact A Louisiana Criminal Defense Attorney Today
For more information, contact the Law Offices of Philip B. Adams today. We are relentless, meticulous, and passionate Louisiana criminal defense lawyers. Go to our "Contact Us" page here. We have offices in Shreveport and handle criminal defense cases throughout all of Louisiana.