Massachusetts Legal Developments Blog

The Consequences of Committing Vandalism

The Massachusetts Senate Committee on Ways and Means is looking at a new bill that removes the collateral consequences of loss of a person's driver's license for the crime of vandalism. If the new bill becomes law, it still should not encourage you to get involved in destructive behavior, such as vandalism in the Commonwealth. Vandalism is a serious crime in Massachusetts.

Vandalism is considered a property crime. It involves destroying, defacing or damaging the property of another. It can include public or private property. It is any willful behavior that vandalizes someone else's property. If you are arrested or accused of vandalism, you will need to speak with a criminal defense attorney. Actions or behaviors that can lead to a vandalism arrest or accusation may include:

  • Slashing a car tire

  • Spraying paint on someone's property

  • Placing eggs (egging) on a window or car

  • Scratching the paint off of a vehicle

  • Destroying someone's window

  • Defacing public property

  • Writing graffiti on property or the walls of buildings

  • Destroying or knocking down street signs

If you are a victim of vandalism, you should contact law enforcement immediately. With the evidence, you can file charges against the perpetrators in a court of law. The police can document how much damage has occurred through photos and written reports. Also, the police can provide you with these written reports for your future use. Call your insurance provider and a reputable repair service to get estimates for repairing the damaged property. Keep any receipts obtained from the insurance providers and repair services as you may be reimbursed by the perpetrator if the case goes to court. Contact a qualified criminal defense attorney who can explain your legal actions and any restitution. Individuals found guilty of vandalism may be punished by serving time in jail or paying hefty fines. The form of punishment often varies by state and the type of crime committed.

In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the act of a criminal property damage offense, such as vandalism is known as Malicious Damage. The punishment for a criminal property damage offense depends on your intentions at the time of the crime. For an example, if you acted "willfully and maliciously," you could be sentenced up to 10 years in prison and fines of $3,000 or up to two and a half years in jail. However, if you acted "wantonly," the penalty could be up to two and a half years in jail or a fine of $1500. If the damage of the property is valued less than $250, the perpetrator could face jail time of up to two and a half months and fines equal to three times the value of the damaged property.

Get Legal Help

If you have been charged with committing vandalism or accused of a criminal property damage offense, the consequences can be severe with hefty fines. Boston Criminal Defense Attorney, Edward Molari can provide you and your family with legal advice that may help reduce your punishment or clear your name. He cares about you and provides personalized legal services in every case.  Contact Attorney, Edward Molari at 617-942-1532 for a free consultation.