Graffiti Charges in Arizona
In Arizona, graffiti is classified as a type of criminal damage. More specifically, it is considered vandalism, which is defined as recklessly or intentionally defacing or damaging another person’s property without their consent.
Depending on the extent of the damage, graffiti vandalism can be either a misdemeanor or a felony for which you can land yourself in jail or with hefty fines if convicted.
For a full explanation of criminal damage in Arizona, please reference our “Criminal Damage” article here.
Additionally, each city in Arizona may have their own municipal laws regarding graffiti. For example, City of Phoenix’s municipal code allows for graffiti-specific charges which are classified as misdemeanors.
In September 2023, an Arizona State University student was arrested for spray painting pro-Nazi graffiti on ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism building in downtown Phoenix, as reported by Perry Vandell of the Arizona Republic here.
In this case, the student was ultimately charged with aggravated criminal damage, which is a class 5 felony.
It is important to note that, during the sentencing process, courts can take into account aggravating circumstances per A.R.S. 13-701. For example, graffiti could be considered a “hate crime” if there is “evidence that the defendant committed the crime out of malice toward a victim because of the victim’s identity in a group” per this statute. Such an aggravating circumstance can leave a defendant with a more severe sentence than they would have otherwise received.
If you are facing a criminal damage charge of any kind, give Rideout Law Group a call today.
RIDEOUT LAW GROUP
With offices in Lake Havasu City and Scottsdale, our firm serves the entire state of Arizona, with a particular focus on criminal defense, family law, and juvenile cases.
Our goal is for the best outcome for your criminal case, which can include:
- charges that are reduced or dropped.
- top experts reviewing your case.
- aggressive negotiations with the prosecution for plea bargains.
- fines or probation in lieu of jail time.
At Rideout Law Group, our attorneys are able to expertly examine the evidence in your case to provide a strong strategy for argument that leads to an outcome that is most favorable to you. We have experience in all types of criminal cases for both adults and juveniles, with positive outcomes both in plea negotiations as well as jury trial settings.
Call us today for a free consultation at 480-584-3328.