Making Graffiti has long been a contentious issue in New York City, with some seeing it as a form of art and self-expression, while others view it as a nuisance and a form of vandalism. However, regardless of one’s opinion on graffiti, it is essential to understand the legal implications of creating it in New York. Under New York Penal Law 145.60, making graffiti is considered a criminal offense and can result in serious legal consequences.
If you or someone you know has been charged with making graffiti in New York, it is crucial to understand the legal implications of this offense and to have a comprehensive understanding of your legal rights and options. In this article, we will provide an overview of New York Penal Law 145.60, including what it covers, the penalties for violating it, and what you can do if you have been charged with this offense.
Those who have been arrested for vandalism, spray painting, tagging, or otherwise defacing both private and public property are dealt with harshly by the prosecutor’s office in New York City. Don’t be misled. Making graffiti is a criminal that is actively being enforced by law enforcement, including the NYPD and those in Westchester, Rockland, Putnam, and Dutchess counties, in accordance with New York Penal Law 145.60. Many district attorneys’ offices are taking a strong stance against this crime.
Making Graffiti: Understanding The Crime Of NY Penal Law 145.60
In general, you violate New York Penal Law 145.60 when you mark up someone else’s property, regardless of whether the property is held in trust by the government or a private firm. The New York Penal Law does not require that your actions reach the level of permanent damage that many people probably believe Making Graffiti entails, such as the use of indelible markers, deep scratches, and grooves, or some type of paint to create a mural, tag a wall, or do something similar to another person’s property. Instead, it is against NY PL 145.60 to etch, draw, or even cover another person’s property with posters or stickers.
Although the intent to cause damage is required by the Making Graffiti law, the law’s actual application and legal interpretation do not require that you intended to or actually caused any damage. Even though intentionally causing damage to property can result in a misdemeanor or felony Criminal Mischief arrest, being an artist with the intention to share your talent or produce something beautiful rather than cause damage to property will not shield you from prosecution.
Graffiti-making is a class “A” misdemeanor that carries a possible one-year prison sentence. Yes, Rikers Island, the Westchester County Jail, and the Dutchess County Jail can serve as your “home” for a few hours, a few weeks, or even a full year.
Making Graffiti And The NYPD Vandel Squad
As was briefly mentioned, the situation is made worse by the Vandal Squad’s tenacious pursuit of anyone they believe to be an active, long-term, or major graffiti artist. The NYPD may attempt to arrest you again and charge you with as many violations as they can link back to your claimed activity if you are accused of making a specific tag or sign. They may do this by using an earlier or current arrest, your admission regarding a tag, or both as probable cause.
It goes without saying that you should never be hesitant to utilize your right to silence and to ask for legal representation if you are charged with a graffiti-related felony in New York City or anyplace else in the Hudson Valley. If you provide the necessary evidence – an admission – that enables law enforcement to prosecute you to the full extent permitted by law, you will only have yourself to blame. Doing otherwise may irritate the arresting or investigating police officers and you may face threats of additional arrests or higher-level charges.
Hiring A New York Lawyer For Making Graffiti Cases
If you are facing charges for graffiti in New York City, hiring a lawyer with experience in handling these types of cases is essential. Graffiti offenses can range from low-level misdemeanors to serious felonies, and the penalties can include hefty fines, community service, probation, and even jail time. A skilled New York lawyer can help you navigate the legal system and work to achieve the best possible outcome for your case.
When selecting a lawyer, it’s important to look for someone who has specific experience in handling graffiti cases. They should be familiar with the local laws and regulations surrounding graffiti, as well as have a track record of success in defending clients in similar cases.
A good New York lawyer for graffiti cases will also take the time to understand your unique circumstances and goals and develop a customized strategy to fight the charges against you. They should be able to explain the legal process to you in clear terms and keep you informed throughout every step of your case.