Everyday children and teenagers commit acts of vandalism that they many times see merely as goofing around or as a prank. However, if caught, these acts can cost the child and parents. Vandalism is largely a juvenile offense. The juvenile crime defense attorneys at Moses and Rooth can help your child and family put these mistakes in the past.
In Florida vandalism is characterized as criminal mischief. Under Florida Statute, a person commits criminal mischief by willfully or maliciously injuring or damaging any real property or personal property of another. This includes graffiti and other acts of vandalism. The severity of the charge and punishment depends on the amount of damage caused to the property.
If the property damage is $200 or less it is a second degree misdemeanor. Under Florida Statute, a second degree misdemeanor is punishable by up to 60 days in jail and up to $500 in fines. If the damage is between $200 but less than $1,000, then it is a first degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail and up to $1,000 in fines. If the property damage is $1,000 or more it is a third degree felony punishable by up to five years in jail and up to $5,000 in fines.
In Florida, the penalties for graffiting property carry additional fines and punishment especially for minors and their parents. There are additional fines for graffiting something on top of the other fines for criminal mischief. For a first conviction the fine will be a minimum of $250. For a second conviction the fine will not be less than $500 and for a third or subsequent conviction the fine will be no less than $1,000. If a minor is convicted of graffiting, the minor’s parents or guardian are liable for the fine. Also, if a minor is eligible for a driver’s license and is caught graffiting, the minor may have their driver’s license suspended or withheld for up to a year. If the minor’s driver’s license is already suspended then the suspension can be increased by up to a year. If the minor is not eligible then once they are eligible for a driver’s license the license can then be withheld for up to a year. Along with extra fines and driver’s license suspension, your teen may have to perform community service if convicted of graffiting.
Kids seldom understand the consequences of their actions. Unfortunately, some of their actions can come with serious consequences that can cost the parent as well as the child. To a teenager, what seems to be just a fun night out with friends sometimes can lead to serious trouble if it involves damage to other people’s property. If your child has been arrested for vandalism, contact an experienced juvenile defense attorney at Moses and Rooth in Florida to represent them and your family.