Getting in trouble with police often seems like a nightmare no one wants to encounter in real life. Unfortunately, many North Carolina residents could find themselves stopped, questioned or even arrested by police for various reasons, some of which may not feel completely valid. Nonetheless, if you have found yourself taken into police custody and have had criminal charges brought against you, your life has likely gotten more complicated.
Perhaps you thought you and your friends were simply having some fun by showing off your artistic side with spray paint. You may have thought that others would even appreciate the artistic integrity of your work. However, that may not have been the case, and property owners and police may have considered your work vandalism, resulting in your arrest.
Graffiti and vandalism charges in North Carolina
Under state law, graffiti often falls under the headings of vandalism and property damage when the markings are made without permission. In particular, the state has specific stipulations regarding the damaging or altering of objects of remembrance, such as monuments, caves and caverns. Commonly, the law considers vandalism a Class 1 misdemeanor that could result in minimal penalties of at least $500 in fines and 24 hours of community service. In regard to vandalism of caves, authorities may bring a Class 3 misdemeanor charge against you.
Of course, the chance exists that more serious penalties could result, particularly if the situation becomes a Class H felony, which could apply under the following circumstances:
- You already have two or more previous convictions for such offenses.
- The incident that resulted in a second conviction occurred after you already faced one conviction for similar offenses.
- The current charges you face occurred after at least a second conviction for similar offenses.
Even a conviction for a misdemeanor charge could have lasting effects on your life, so you undoubtedly do not want to simply accept the allegations. Instead, you may find it helpful to gain reliable and applicable information about your available criminal defense options. Having this information may allow you to determine which possible defense routes you may feel most comfortable using as your case moves forward. Ignoring criminal charges of any kind will not work in your favor, and addressing the matter head-on may be worthwhile for you.