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Vandalism Crimes Defense Attorney in Phoenix

In Arizona, vandalism, which falls under the category of criminal damage, can have serious legal consequences. Vandalism involves the defacement, damage, or alteration of property without the permission of the owner. When someone is arrested on vandalism charges, the nature and extent of the damage typically influence whether the charge is a misdemeanor or a felony.

If you or a loved one has been charged with vandalism in Phoenix, Arizona, please contact the Nava Law Firm. Our law firm has extensive experience defending against vandalism charges and can provide guidance throughout the legal process. Our attorneys will help negotiate with prosecutors, represent the accused in court, and work to minimize the penalties or even seek dismissal of charges where possible. Call us today to schedule a free consultation to learn how we can help and defend your rights.

What are Arizona's Vandalism Laws?

In Arizona, as outlined in the Arizona Revised Statutes § 13-1602, vandalism is indeed a criminal act and can include a variety of behaviors, such as:

  • Defacing Property: This includes any act that results in the visible alteration of the property's surface. For instance, using paint or any other substance to mar walls.

  • Damaging Property: Beyond surface-level defacement, this may include breaking windows, damaging structures, or any other act that physically harms the integrity of someone's property.

  • Tampering with Property: Actions that may not cause visible damage but could impair the use or value of the property fall under this category. This could include something like cutting power lines or other utilities.

  • Graffiti: Specifically mentioned in many statutes, this involves painting or writing on walls or other surfaces in public spaces without permission.

  • Vandalism as a Hate Crime in Arizona: If the act of vandalism is also classified as a hate crime, this can significantly impact the severity of the penalties. In Arizona, a hate crime is defined as an offense where the perpetrator intentionally selects a victim or property based on prejudice against the victim's or owner's race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, or disability​. These crimes can be charged as either misdemeanors or felonies, with the specific charge influenced by factors such as the extent of damage, use of weapons, hate symbols, number of people involved, and whether the crime was premeditated or the perpetrator has a prior history of hate crimes​.
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Penalties for Vandalism in Arizona

The value of the damage caused determines the penalties for vandalism in Arizona. Here are the penalties for possible extents of damages:

Misdemeanor Vandalism:

  • If the damage is less than $250, it is treated as a Class 2 misdemeanor, with potential penalties including up to 4 months in jail and a fine of up to $750.
  • Damage ranging from $250 to $1,000 elevates the charge to a Class 1 misdemeanor, which could result in up to 6 months in jail and a $2,500 fine.

Felony Vandalism:

  • Damage between $1,000 to $2,000 is considered a Class 6 felony, potentially leading to 2 years in prison and a fine of up to $150,000.
  • For damage between $2,000 to $10,000, it's a Class 5 felony, punishable by up to 2.5 years in prison and a $150,000 fine.
  • Damage over $10,000 results in a Class 4 felony, with penalties of up to 3.75 years in prison and a fine of up to $150,000​.

Graffiti or Tagging:

  • These charges also depend on the number of offenses, with the first offense being a Class 1 misdemeanor. A second or subsequent offense escalates to a Class 6 felony.

Hate Crimes:

  • Sentencing for hate crimes may include jail time, community service, counseling, probation, fines, and restorative justice measures, and the penalties differ based on whether the crime is charged as a misdemeanor or felony. Specifically for hate crimes, Arizona allows for "bias-motivated enhancements," meaning the court can impose longer sentences than normal. The prosecution must prove criminal intent, and judges may consider the victim's impact statement during sentencing, which is a distinctive feature in Arizona's approach to such crimes​.
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Contact an Experienced Vandalism Defense Attorney in Phoenix

Vandalism, often viewed as a minor nuisance by the general public, can indeed have serious legal consequences. The defense against vandalism charges may involve several strategies, such as questioning the evidence of intent, the value of the damaged property, or the identification of the accused as the person responsible for the damage. Therefore, securing a lawyer who can navigate these complexities is crucial for the accused to receive a fair trial and the best possible outcome under the law.

If you or a loved one has been charged with vandalism in Phoenix, Arizona, you need to contact an experienced attorney. When you work with the Nava Law Firm, we delve deep into the details of each case, employing strategies to challenge evidence or legal procedures. Our knowledge not only offers the possibility of reduced penalties or dismissed charges but also provides invaluable emotional support during a challenging legal process. 

‍Our firm primarily serves the areas of Phoenix, Scottsdale, Chandler, Glendale and other areas around Arizona. If you are in need of an experienced Criminal Defense attorney in Maricopa County, please contact us today to schedule your free case evaluation.


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Legal Disclaimer:

The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. Many factors contribute to providing legal advice, including the specific facts of a situation. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. Armando Nava is licensed to practice law in Arizona. We invite you to contact us, but please be aware that contacting us does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until an attorney-client relationship has been established.

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