Now that you have turned 18, you are probably looking forward to finishing your senior year of high school and heading off to college. You are in for a real treat. Not only does college prepare you for joining the workforce, but it is also an almost unbelievable amount of fun.

In North Carolina, property crimes are serious. While there are a variety of ways to harm someone else’s property, graffiti vandalism is relatively common in the Charlotte area. If you deface property that does not belong to you, though, you may face criminal charges. Furthermore, your graffiti hobby may interfere with your education plans.

Potential criminal charges 

If prosecutors have evidence that you intentionally damaged someone’s property, they may charge you with a class 1 misdemeanor. While jail time and fines are possible with this type of charge, you may have to perform community service and pay restitution. There are, nonetheless, a variety of ways to defend yourself against graffiti vandalism charges. Additionally, you may be able to negotiate with the prosecutor to minimize your legal exposure. Either way, understanding your legal options is essential.

Possible educational consequences 

Whether a judge or jury finds you guilty of graffiti vandalism, an arrest for this type of conduct can be problematic for your educational goals. After all, many colleges conduct background checks before admitting students. Even if you gain admission, however, you may not be out of the woods. That is, having a criminal history may render you ineligible for on-campus housing. Even worse, you may not be able to compete for certain scholarships, fellowships and educational programs with a vandalism arrest on conviction on your record.

If you are planning for the next chapter in your life, pursuing a post-secondary education is likely high on your priority list. You must remember, though, that graffiti may not be harmless fun. By understanding how vandalism charges may affect your future, you can better plan for staying out of trouble.